Drug thefts by pharmacists are persistent problem

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- It's a persistent problem: thefts of controlled substances among pharmacists who have ready access to drugs and a duty to safeguard them.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports (http://bit.ly/MGmxPi ) that relatively few of the state's nearly 6,000 licensed pharmacists have been caught diverting drugs. But the problem makes up a large proportion of cases handled by the Wisconsin Pharmacy Examining Board.

A State Journal analysis finds that of 64 pharmacists the board took action against between 2011 and 2013, 41 were suspected of or had engaged in drug diversion.

Many of the thefts were for personal use.

Christopher Decker, chief executive officer of the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin, says pharmacists are trained to guard medications carefully, but it may be impossible to prevent all drug thefts by them.

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