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Q: What should I do if prescription pads or controlled substances are missing?


The Massachusetts Board of Pharmacy recommends that any prescription pad theft be reported to local pharmacies, local law enforcement agencies, and the State Police Diversion Unit. Theft of controlled substances also should be reported to local law enforcement agencies and the federal Drug Enforcement Agency which has forms specifically designed for this purpose. Internal investigation into the theft or loss should involve the risk manager along with the other hospital departments affected.


Prescription slips should never be pre-signed. They should be stored in a locked drawer or safe area and never be left unattended. Pads should be numbered sequentially in order to better identify if any are missing.

Controlled substances should be locked in the medication room at all times and the keys held by authorized individuals only. Department of Public Health regulations require that Schedule II drugs be double locked. Every step in the system, from ordering to dispensing a controlled substance, should be handled by a different individual to minimize opportunities for theft.

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