Warning on S8 safety requirements

Some pharmacies are using unacceptable safes to cope with new and strengthened S8 poisons, authorities warn

Some pharmacies are using unacceptable safes to store S8 poisons, pharmacy regulators say.

Because of the introduction of new S8 poisons and new strengths of existing products, larger or additional safes are often needed, says the Victorian Pharmacy Authority in its October communique.

However, it appears that some pharmacies are not following the best procedures in coping with this capacity issue.

 “In some cases, stock outstrips the safe’s capacity and other cupboards or filing cabinets have been used,” the VPA says in the communique.

“The specifications for the safes and the approved methods of installation have remained unchanged for many years yet inspectors sometimes see safes more suited to office or domestic use being used to store S8 poisons”.

“Licensees are reminded that the keys to the S8 safes must be secured at all times. Many pharmacies do not have multiple keys for the S8 safe(s) and it is recommended that a key safe (combination lock) be considered for the secure storage of the keys. The keys must not be left in a locked drawer or hidden in a supposedly secret place, especially when the pharmacy is closed”.

The installation of a movement detector sensor to cover the safe is required, the VPA says.

“If more than one safe is in use, all of them must be covered by one or more sensors. Depending on the design of the pharmacy, the general dispensary sensor may cover the safe but if the safe is outside of its direct range, an additional one will be needed”.

In addition, the VPA says it has written to Australia Post to clarify earlier correspondence on the illegality of sending S8 poisons by post.

“Australia Post has confirmed previous advice that the supply by post of controlled drugs within the meaning of the Crimes Act 1914 (in effect, S8 poisons) is illegal,” the VPA communique says. “Supply by a private courier company is acceptable”.


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