A new survey has revealed three out of four pharmacies in Ireland have been the victims of crime.
The Irish Pharmacy Union survey has also found that a quarter of incidents were described as violent.
The group says tougher sentencing and measures to tackle shoplifting are needed or it will be forced to take drastic action.
he findings from the survey were described by IPU President Daragh Connolly as “shocking” and he was particularly concerned at the level of violent crimes against pharmacy staff, which he described as “extremely worrying and utterly unacceptable”.
“Almost one in four cases against pharmacies are ‘violent’ in nature, involving not only a physical threat but also a substantial psychological threat to victims.
"It is difficult enough to run a pharmacy in the current environment without being the target for criminal activity that not only has a significant cost factor but more importantly has a detrimental impact on pharmacy staff.
"It is unacceptable that pharmacy owners and their staff are viewed as ‘soft targets’ where the probability of repeat offences is high and the risk of apprehension and penalty is low.”