The following post is from B. Douglas Hoey the Executive Vice President & CEO of NCPA. This appeared in the May 6, 2011 Edition of the NCPA Executive Update.
Just before 6 p.m. last Friday, a man with a dark bandanna pulled up to his face walked through the front door of the Brunswick Pharmacy owned by Arjun Reddy Dyapa in Trenton, N.J. Brandishing a handgun, he went to the pharmacy counter and demanded drugs, according to police. He then went behind the counter and pulled out a bag where he wanted the drugs placed.
Dyapa refused and struggled with the gunman, who shot him once in the chest. The gunman fled empty handed and remains at large.
Dyapa, 54, a native of India, died on the way to the hospital. He is survived by his wife, their daughter, three brothers, and three sisters.
Our thoughts and prayers here at NCPA and I’m sure from community pharmacists everywhere go out to the family, especially wife Geeta and daughter Pooja.
While I didn’t know Mr. Dyapa personally, I think I got a pretty good sense of who he was and what he meant to his community from this entry in his funeral home’s online guest book:
“[He] was a very generous man. I was going through a very tough time in my life and [he] helped me with no questions asked. I will never forget the generosity that he showed me. He will always be remembered and there will always be a special place in my heart for him…”
Shortly after the brutal crime, Steve Ettman, owner of the Westside Pharmacy in Trenton, put up a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the robbery-homicide. Earlier this week, Purdue Pharma gave $10,000 to the Trenton Police Department and Crime Stoppers as a reward for information leading to an arrest. Purdue and Crime Stoppers are partners in RxPatrol and NCPA’s Protect Your Pharmacy Now initiative.
The Indo-American Pharmaceutical Society has established the Arjun Dyapa Fund. Donations can be sent to IAPS, PO Box 751034, Forest Hills, NY 11375.
It’s unfortunate that it takes a tragedy like this to sometimes make us pause and reflect on a number of things including the rise in criminal demand for prescription drugs and that we must do all that we can to protect our patients, our employees, and ourselves. Take a moment and go to the Protect Your Pharmacy Now! section of the NCPA website and use the Security Checklist to measure your business’ strengths and weaknesses.
The incident in New Jersey was not the only tragedy to strike the independent pharmacy community last month. Destructive storms pounded the South in April and flooding remains a threat all along the Mississippi River basin and in several other parts of the country. Fortunately, there are no deaths that we know of pharmacy owners and their staffs, but there are businesses and homes lost and lives and communities disrupted. Some pharmacies are operating out of trailers; some are running off generators. Recovery is underway, but for many it will be a long and painful process.
The NCPA Foundation has sent checks to 12 independent pharmacies destroyed or damaged, but more pharmacy owners still need assistance. A donation from you to the foundation’s Disaster Relief Fund is urgently needed.
If you’ve already made a donation, thank you for your generosity. If you haven’t made a donation yet, please visit the donation page of www.ncpafoundation.org to make a tax-deductible contribution, or email ncpaF@ncpanet.org to request a donation form.
Now more than ever, independent community pharmacists must stand together.
B, Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA
NCPA Executive Update is a weekly e-newsletter for pharmacy leaders from NCPA Executive Vice President and CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA. Through NCPA Executive Update, you will receive information on legislative, regulatory, and marketplace developments.