Thursday, July 17, 2008

Cargo Theft: A Major Rx Supply Chain Issue

The June 23, 2008 issue of Drug Topics contains an article about the ever increasing issue of cargo theft and its impact on the drug supply chain.

Given the high dollar value of pharmaceutical shipments, shipments of all types of medications lead the list of targets for transit thieves.

Much of the article is based on a presentation at a National Boards of Pharmacy meeting by FBI Special Agent Ryan Toole. The article states, “….in 2005 there were reported thefts of $14 million worth of Lipitor (atorvastatin, Pfizer) and Viagra (sildenafil citrate, Pfizer), and $29 million worth of Novartis products. However, Toole said, there's a long list of types of drugs stolen, including those for acid reflux, cancer, depression, hypertension, stroke, and many other conditions.”

Obviously once these products are stolen, these medications often make their way back into legitimate channels via non-legitimate enterprises in a variety of formats. The major concern is what happens to the product once it is in the hands of the thieves. Once in the hands of a thief, the products and their containers can be altered, contaminated, diluted or diverted. It is, however, certain that at some point these products will ultimately find their way to the hands of a consumer in a format that may not be safe for consumption.

These types of thefts make the case for an authentication technology that can verify the molecular structure of the material inside the sealed container such as the XStream Systems’ XT250™ Material Identification System. Operating in conjunction with Track and Trace processes or as a standalone technology, the XT250 protects the inventories within each step in the supply chain from receiving products that have been highjacked and altered.

View the article in full at this link to Drug Topics.

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