Four out of five pharmacies in the country were victims of crime last year.
The findings from the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) also show one in three incidents were violent, with a weapon used in many of them.
A knife was used in 77% of robberies or raids where a weapon was present and a gun was present in 8% of these cases.
The research also shows that crimes against pharmacies are not isolated incidents, with 81% of victims reporting having experienced two or more incidents during 2017.
Cash, as well as prescription and over-the-counter drugs, were the most common items to be stolen.
The IPU is calling for more garda presence and tougher sentencing.
The IPU general secretary, Darragh O'Loughlin, has had his Galway pharmacy attacked.
"At 2.30 in the morning I was woken to be told that somebody had smashed in the front of my pharmacy and was inside stealing from the pharmacy," he said.
"You can imagine how disturbing it is for my small family to be woken up in the middle of the night and be told daddy has to go out because there's a robber in the pharmacy, and then for staff who have to come in in the morning and clean up the damage and the broken glass and sort the shop out."
The research also found that:
- 89% of pharmacies who were victims of crime experienced shoplifting and 17% a break-in;
- The number of pharmacists who experienced a raid, at 13%, was up considerably on last year (6%), which highlights the ongoing threat that remains;
- 73% reported the case to the Gardaí, with 79% happy that their case was dealt with effectively/adequately;
- Almost half of pharmacists (45%) who decided not to report a crime did so because they felt the perpetrator would not be charged. 23% had no confidence in the Garda response;
- 97% invested in CCTV to protect their staff and their businesses; and
In one in four cases (25%), controlled or prescribed drugs were taken, while cash was taken in 21% of cases. In 11% of cases, over-the-counter drugs were taken. Cosmetics (87%) and fake tan (40%) are the most likely items to be shoplifted from pharmacies.
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