Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cargo Thefts on the Rise-Threaten Security of Pharmaceuticals

The following is a re-post of a blog written by Patricia Earl, V.P. Business Development, XStream Systems for Secure Pharma Chain in October 2009.

Since this posting the issue of the security of pharmaceuticals while in the supply chain and in transit has become more prevalent with major criminal organizations targeting pharmaceuticals distribution points and warehouses.

As pointed out here by Purdue Pharma’s Chuck Forsaith, one of the key speakers at the recent 2009 National Cargo Theft Summit, Americans have an increasing issue with pharmaceuticals being stolen in transit from the manufacturer’s dock to the distributor’s dock or to the retailer.

Chuck talked about why transportation – and trucking in particular – is so vulnerable to cargo theft these days and what shippers and carriers alike can do about it.“On the street, one milligram of OxyContin is worth between 50 cents to $1, with single pill containing 80 milligrams. That means the street value of just ONE OxyContin tablet is between $40 and $80 – and Purdue Pharma typically ships 50 to 100 DRUMS worth in a single tractor-trailer load. Now you know why cargo thieves stalk the pharmaceutical industry like so many hungry wolves circling a herd of fat deer. While pharmaceuticals remain a relatively small part of the goods stolen by cargo thieves – making up just 6% of the total cargo theft “pie” as it were – the average value of a pharmaceutical cargo theft is very high, Forsaith explained; roughly $1.4 million per shipment. Overall pharmaceutical truckload shipments themselves can average anywhere from $10,000 per load (for over the counter or “OTC” products) to several million dollars (for the expensive bio-tech drugs).”And that’s not the total picture, either, Mr. Forsaith stressed, cargo thieves have exactly zero overhead – meaning the entire shipment is 100% profit to them, no matter what they sell it for. And when it comes to potentially addictive medicines such as OxyContin, the sky’s the limit.

The National Cargo Theft Prevention Initiative created the original National Cargo Theft Strategy to combat cargo theft and this action has been sponsored by the federal government, in cooperation with private industry and state and local governments. Cargo theft incidents in the U.S present a clear and rising threat to the U.S. economy, the well being and the national security of the United States of America. Since the first Cargo Theft Summit held in 2005 and subsequent gatherings held since, Cargo Theft has continued to be a rising nationwide issue with a significant economic impact on the U.S. economy and has a very high potential for use by terrorist organizations. Cargo crime accounts for an estimated direct merchandise loss of up to $ 25 billion dollars per year in the United States.

You can find more information on the website http://www.nationalcargothefttaskforce.org/.

Members of the pharmaceutical supply chain and domestic consumers should be aware of the proliferation and prevalence of counterfeit, adulterated, stolen, diverted or fraudulent medications. Distributors and dispensers should only purchase their inventories from legitimate supply chain members that utilize pedigrees and material authentication technologies to verify the medication and the chain of the transaction.

Consumers need to only buy medications from licensed, known pharmacies that procure their inventories from the legitimate pharmaceutical supply chain and who use best, safe medication practices when dispensing drugs.

To learn more about material screening technology, visit: http://www.xstreamsystems.net/.

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