More arrests in Italian pharma theft clampdown

Italian policeThe number of arrests in an Italian investigation into the organised theft of pharmaceuticals from hospitals has reached 50.

The arrests - made by police in the Italian regions of Campania, Calabria, Lombardy, Liguria, Tuscany, and Sicily - included truck drivers, wholesaler staff and pharmacists, according to the Pharmaceutical Cargo Security Coalition (PCSC).

"The investigators traced pharmaceuticals stolen in Milan to wholesalers in Germany, and connected the stolen drugs to a wholesaler in Monza, Lombardy," says the PCSC in a recent update on the Pharmatraffic investigation.

"Other front companies in the UK, Ireland, and Malta were producing fake packaging for the Monza wholesaler, into which the criminals inserted the stolen pharmaceuticals."

The pharmaceuticals then entered the legitimate supply chain and were sold in Bulgaria, Italy, and Germany.

Raids coordinated by the Milan NAS police Unit earlier in the operation resulted in the seizure of stolen pharmaceuticals worth an estimated €3m, along with other assets valued at €23m.

Italy has suffered a series of pharmaceutical thefts linked to organised crime in the last couple of years. Earlier in 2015 Italian police recovered $1.16m-worth of stolen pharmaceuticals from two separate warehouses in Naples, and there have been other recent theft incidents in Rome, Salerno and Candela and Bitonto in the Apulia region of southern Italy.

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