Friday, January 1, 2010

Pharmaceutical Cargo Theft Emerges as a Organized Criminal Activity in 2009

In an excellent online article written by Nick Basta in Pharmaceutical Commerce, he explores the expanding issue of pharmaceutical cargo theft and the ongoing efforts to fight against this problem which poses a serious threat to US healthcare consumers. This issue has become more public in 2009.

Basta writes an overview of the issue and covers various Pharma companies, transportation industry solutions and interviews various industry experts.

Highlighting the article were some of the more significant pharmaceutical cargo thefts in 2009:

  • Almost 36,000 cartons of albuterol sulfate vials from Dey L.P. (Napa, CA) stolen in early August in McKinney, TX. Dey sent out an announcement advising that “pharmacists are encouraged to verify pedigree documentation for all purchases of Dey-labeled” albuterol.
  • Teva Pharmaceuticals lost almost 1,000 cartons of Copaxone (glatiramer acetate) in a theft in April; Copaxone is a temperature-controlled product that must be stored below 74° F and out of sunlight; Teva had to recall the remainder of that lot.

  • Novo Nordisk lost 129,000 vials of Levemir (recombinant-DNA insulin) in a North Carolina robbery in the spring. In June, it and FDA announced that the product—which requires refrigerated storage—had shown up in a medical center in Houston; subsequently FDA reported that it “has received multiple reports of patients who suffered an adverse event due to poor control of glucose levels after using a vial from one of the stolen lots.” An August followup reported that the stolen insulin was still showing up and that only 2% of the vials had been accounted for.

  • The biggest-value recent theft—which didn’t produce an FDA alert because the product was recovered within minutes of being stolen, occurred along the PA Turnpike in May. An Eli Lilly shipment of insulin valued at $37 million was stolen (along with the truck) at a turnpike rest stop, but the truck was located a few miles down the road by quick-acting state troopers; the shipment was intact and allowed to proceed, according to industry sources.

To read the entire online story, Cargo Theft Emerges as New Biopharm Worry, in Pharmaceutical Commerce, visit:

To learn more about XStream Systems, onsite supply chain material screening solutions, visit:

No comments: