STORES Magazine - May/June 2017 - LP61
In 2016 Rite Aid
adopted 20/20 Data
Analytics as the
security software in its
pharmacies. A major
player in the retail
pharmacy industry, the
company operates 4,560
locations in 31 states and
the District of Columbia.
Previously Rite Aid
used a combination
of several systems,
using structured query
in 2015, various third parties including
vendors began using incompatible
software, making a comprehensive update
Because they routinely handle
controlled substances, pharmacies present
several unique security-related challenges.
Pharmacy operation also requires the
use of several independent systems: POS,
inventory (which must perform ongoing
"cycle counts"), adjudication to perform
proper billing of insurance providers and
"fill" programs to accurately dispense the
Company profitability is not the only
reason for pharmacy security. Legal
and licensing requirements mandate
effective and comprehensive back-ofthe-house procedures. Government rules
for retail pharmacies are numerous and
complex, the violation of which can
involve very significant fines. A shortage
of government inspectors has placed
the onus on proprietors and individual
pharmacists to maintain the integrity of
MODES OF USE
Security risks native to pharmacies can
arise from a variety of sources.
Diversion, the internal theft of drugs
for personal use, is a significant problem.
According to the North Carolina
Pharmacist Recovery Network, 11-15
percent of U.S. pharmacists suffer from a
chemical addiction, and often steal drugs
to support their habit. Similar numbers of
use, I can look up one
script, from there I can
bounce off to the patient, to
the prescriber, to the drug
to look at each inventory
event," Rodner says. "I can
look at the store and its
patterns and history and
pharmacy techs engage in theft, often to
sell to friends or addicts.
Another internal issue is financial
shrink - losses due to poor
bookkeeping, improper ordering and
other paperwork errors.
A final concern is external in nature:
Patients involved in doctor shopping and
"pill-pushing" physicians. Government
regulations require a pharmacy to decline
suspicious prescriptions, particularly for
Schedule 2 drugs including opiates such
as hydrocodone and oxycodone.
Because it works primarily as an
information aggregator, 20/20 can draw
in salient data and present it in a way
that is intelligible and useful. Users of the
system can interact with it in a passive or
Passive use involves configuring the
system to send the principal an email or
text notification if an aberration occurs.
For example, if an inordinate number of
prescriptions from the same prescriber
occurs in a short amount of time, a "red
flag" would go out to alert management.
Passive use is typically employed by
district supervisors or senior company
Active users log into the system at
least daily to observe trends in the data
by examining various dashboards and
reports. This is where 20/20's ability to
interlink divergent data sets really
In this mode, the program is capable of
viewing data in isolation. "With active
All data can be viewed in
the aggregate and examined
from numerous angles.
"The data can be sliced and
diced in a myriad of ways
- by types of customers,
by a given group of stores,
by a particular group of drugs and the
like," Rodner says.
The information can also be archived,
since government regulations require the
data to be retained for seven years.
Careful study and analysis of this
data can yield valuable insights, and if
suspicions are aroused, signal senior
management to launch a formal
examination. Deployment of 20/20
at Rite Aid is in its infancy, but early
results demonstrate its versatility and
"We are just now releasing the solution
to our field leaders, but test runs
during late-stage development are very
encouraging as 20/20 was able to quickly
identify potential losses due to diversion,
plus procedural and operation errors,"
says Brandan Mehaffie, Rite Aid's
director of pharmacy asset protection.
"By having all necessary data in one
application with drill-down capability,
field investigators who are not analysts
now have such capabilities at the click of
Going forward, Rodner sees his
product development group further
enhancing 20/20's capabilities.
"In the future, we hope to introduce
predictive analytics, machine learning
and artificial intelligence ... [they] are all
areas that we are working on," he says.
"Right now, we're looking for things we
know exist, but there are other patterns
in the data that no one has yet even
STORES May/June 2017 LP61