VA Health Care:

Efforts To Improve Pharmacies' Controls Over Addictive Drugs

T-HRD-92-38: Published: Jun 10, 1992. Publicly Released: Jun 10, 1992.

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GAO discussed the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) efforts to improve controls over addictive prescription drugs. GAO noted that: (1) VA has greatly improved controls over bulk supplies of addictive drugs stored in its pharmacies; (2) VA has developed a plan to modify its perpetual inventory system by December 1992, and new security procedures should make it difficult to divert drugs from bulk supplies without detection; (3) until the perpetual inventory software becomes available, VA will require pharmacy managers to reconcile pharmacy receipt and dispensing records with inventory balances of selected drugs each month; (4) while they have improved controls over addictive drugs, some pharmacies are still struggling to implement risk management systems because computer software inadequacies force them to rely on estimates of dispensed quantities; (5) VA has less effectively implemented its efforts to strengthen controls over addictive drugs in dispensing areas, since pharmacy managers had varying interpretations of new VA policies and were reluctant to spend resources to improve drug security practices; and (6) it will take many months for VA to improve controls over dispensing supplies in all pharmacies, but its inclusion of controls over lower scheduled drugs as a material weakness in its Federal Managers' Financial Integrity Act Report should help to ensure that VA corrective actions are accomplished and should help to eliminate weaknesses in those controls.

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