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Information for Licensed Members

Tips for Conducting a Weekly Audit of Controlled Drugs at your Facility

All veterinary facilities in Ontario must maintain a controlled substances register, commonly referred to as a controlled drug log. The controlled drug log is a system for recording the inventory of controlled drugs, including purchases, sales and in-facility dispensing.

Maintaining a Controlled Drug Log

Please watch the video, Maintaining a Controlled Drug Log, to review the requirements and expectations for maintaining a controlled drug log.

The Minimum Standards for Veterinary Facilities in Ontario requires weekly audits for most companion animal facilities.

An audit reconciles the actual inventory and the expected inventory determined from the controlled drug log. Frequent audits assist with inventory management and ensure irregularities are detected, resolved and reported in a timely fashion.

Following an established, written protocol for audits can help cut down on errors and inaccuracies.  It is a good idea to rotate the auditor role within the facility. Auxiliary staff can perform audits; however, it is ultimately the veterinarian’s responsibility to ensure the security of controlled substances. As part of the audit protocol, the veterinarian should be reviewing the controlled drug logs and audits.

Conducting a Controlled Drug Audit

Please watch the video, Conducting a Controlled Drug Audit, to review step-by-step instructions for conducting a controlled drug audit.

The steps in performing a controlled drug audit are as follows:

Step 1:

Determine your expected inventory.  This is the quantity of a drug you expect to have on hand, based on the information contained in the controlled drug log and other records, such as purchase invoices.

Step 2:

Determine the actual inventory by examining and, in some cases, physically counting the stock. The actual inventory includes the quantity in unopened bottles and the amount in opened bottles.

Tamper proof seals can save time.  For added security, a tamper proof seal can be wrapped around unopened bottles.  If this seal has not been broken, the auditor can assume the bottle contains the number of tablets or mls as per the label. 

During the audit, open bottles of tablets are counted and they then can be sealed as well. For the next audit, if the seal has not been broken, a re-count would not be necessary.

In the case of an opened bottle of an injectable controlled drug, do not withdraw the liquid to determine the volume as this can lead to contamination and loss of the drug.  There are a number of ways that injectable medications can be “counted”. To maintain a running account of the amount of liquid remaining in an opened bottle apply a sticker to the bottle which denotes the amount remaining after a withdrawal.

Step 3:

Compare the actual inventory to the expected inventory.  These numbers should be identical or very close. (Note: Loss allowance due to withdrawal is normally between 0.1 and 0.2 mls per withdrawal.) 

How to Document the Controlled Drug Audit

Audits can be documented by notes written on every log sheet, using one line of the log.

Click here to obtain a sample form for a Controlled Drug Audit

Alternatively, audits can be documented using a tracking sheet.

Click here to obtain a sample form for a Controlled Drug Audit Tracking Sheet

Helpful New Videos now available

The College has prepared two educational videos to help veterinarians and staff with the important tasks of maintaining an appropriate drug log and conducting a proper drug audit.

Maintaining a Controlled Drug Log

Conducting a Controlled Drug Audit

Learn more about the management of controlled substances

Every veterinarian has the right to prescribe and dispense controlled substances. This privilege comes with responsibilities, inclusive of mitigating the risk of inappropriate or illegal access to controlled drugs.

Take advantage of the Controlled Substances Management Check List to ensure you are on the right track.