Pharmacy work requires you to be on top of everything. You and your staff maintain a steady workflow throughout the day, ensuring your patients get the care they need. 

Then we get to the behind-the-scenes part of the job. The nitty-gritty of pharmacy work requires the same close attention to detail. On the patient care side of things, a five-star survey or positive online review lets you know your independent pharmacy is doing well. 

On the other hand, pharmacy audits ensure the internal aspects of your small business are up to snuff. As a pharmacy owner, you are certainly no stranger to pharmacy audits. Chances are you see audits as a source of headaches — and you’re not wrong. 

Nevertheless, pharmacy audits are a necessary part of your pharmacy’s financial and legal well-being. 

Here is a refresher course on pharmacy audits. 

What is a Pharmacy Audit?

For starters, a pharmacy audit is an “audit, conducted on-site by or on behalf of an auditing entity of any records of a pharmacy for prescription or nonproprietary drugs dispensed by a pharmacy to a covered individual,” according to Law Insider

In short, a pharmacy audit checks if your independent pharmacy is properly crossing their Ts and dotting their Is. It verifies that you’re operating above board. 

A pharmacy audit comes in all shapes and sizes, which we’ll explore in the following sections. 

Types of Pharmacy Audits 

Regulatory Compliance Audits

Regulatory compliance audits are conducted by government entities, namely the respective state board of pharmacy. This is the most general type of pharmacy audit, where the auditor checks that your independent pharmacy is properly adhering to its state’s laws and regulations. 

Purchase Verification Audits

Purchase verification audits “review the amounts and NDCs of medications that are submitted by pharmacies from wholesale receipts,” according to APRX

Investigational Audits

This type of pharmacy fraud comes with a bit of intrigue. Investigational audits have to do with investigations looking into potential prescriber, member, or pharmacy fraud. 

This type of pharmacy audit makes the effective storing of information vital. Pharmacies are required to keep their hard copies of controlled prescriptions stored in a secure location. Doing so makes any potential audit or investigation easier and less time-consuming. 

Your independent pharmacy can and likely will go through all sorts of pharmacy audits. Whether it’s a routine audit or something more “interesting,” take care of all internal aspects of your small business. 

Providing exceptional patient care can be hectic enough, but the work never stops — even when the fill queue hits zero.

Here are ways to make sure future pharmacy audits go off without a hitch. 

Use Your Pharmacy Software System 

Pharmacy work is full of paperwork. Whether you’re talking about receipts, paper prescriptions, or vaccine consent forms, your independent pharmacy practically revolves around paper. 

Back in the day, finding an important document felt like a needle in a haystack. That’s stressful enough, but it’s made worse when you have prescriptions to fill and patients to help. 

Fortunately, the industry is becoming increasingly digital. More doctors are sending their prescriptions electronically, keeping records of the script in their own system. 

Not only should your pharmacy software system help do away with those endless stacks of paperwork, but it should also help you locate specific documents in an instant. 

Certain software systems store prescription records for a certain amount of time. Depending on the drug schedule, your software might keep specific records of a prescription for 10 years. 

Think about cloud capabilities. Because pharmacy work is becoming more digital, things are bound to slip through the cracks. 

Check if your pharmacy software system has cloud capabilities. Not only will the cloud make audits less of a headache, but it will secure sensitive patient information in the event of natural disasters, moving to another location, etc. 

Review Ahead of Time 

A pharmacy audit checks if you’re doing your job — for lack of a better term — the right way. Pharmacy work operates in a brisk place that still requires careful precision. 

Though you’re already verifying prescriptions at the time of dispensing, it never hurts to review them again later down the road. It’s better to catch your own mistake ahead of time than when it’s too late. 

There are plenty of ways to productively spend downtime in your independent pharmacy. 

If an audit is approaching, consider reviewing past fills and double-checking them. This would be especially helpful for controlled medications, which inherently require a greater amount of scrutiny. 

Doing this might sound redundant or unnecessary. That only means you’ve been processing prescriptions correctly all along. In this instance, it’s truly better to be safe than sorry. 

Check Your Inventory 

Your independent pharmacy’s inventory plays a key role in a standard pharmacy audit. The difference between your pharmacy’s on-hand estimate and the actual amount can tell a compelling — and disconcerting — story. 

Regardless if a pharmacy audit is coming up, consistently check that your on-hand estimate perfectly mirrors what is on your pharmacy’s shelves. 

This makes the inventory audit process go a lot smoother. Furthermore, it’s just quality pharmacy adherence. Maintaining an accurate inventory count lets you make more efficient drug orders, both for the next day and in the long haul. 


There are three certainties in the life of the pharmacy: death, taxes, and the occasional pharmacy audit. Just like the first two, pharmacy audits are rarely convenient. However, they are a necessary part of modern pharmacy work. 

In an industry where the ultimate goal is to promote general health, pharmacy audits ensure we’re performing our tasks to the fullest. We’ve only scratched the surface of pharmacy audits but just remember: a little double-checking never hurt anyone.