Pharma crime: news in brief

NewsA round-up of international cargo theft and counterfeiting incidents from Liberia, Brazil, Italy and Togo.

- Police in Monrovia, the capital of West African nation Liberia, says they suspect that 146 cartons of pharmaceuticals have been pilfered and they believe the culprits are staff working at the Ministry of Health and National Drugs Service (NDS).  Police officers and officials from Liberia's Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) said their suspicions stem from the fact that the NDS did not report the theft, which involved drugs destined for free distribution to the public, according to the New Dawn newspaper.

- Police in Sao Paulo, Brazil, thwarted an armed robbery involving a truck shipping pharmaceuticals worth around $250,000. The gang forced the truck to stop and took the driver and armed security escorts hostage. Thereafter they drove the truck to a farm in Campinas where they planned to transfer the goods to other vehicles but - thanks to an onboard GPS device -the shipment owner was able to alert the authorities. Police raided the farm and recovered the shipment, although the thieves managed to escape, according to BSi.

- BSi also reports that police in Italy have recovered more than 40,000 pharmaceutical packs - worth an estimated $784,000 - that were taken in cargo thefts in 2014 and early 2015. The medicines were found in a warehouse in Scafati in the Campania region of southern Italy and included treatments for cancer, liver and heart diseases, HIV drugs, and central nervous system therapies.

- An estimated 22 tonnes of pharmaceuticals suspected of being counterfeit have been seized in Lomé, the capital of West African country Togo. The haul included antibiotics, analgesics, and anti-malarial drugs, and according to local reports were smuggled into the country from Nigeria. Togolese officials suspected the intention was to disseminate the shipment across sub-Saharan Africa, according to the Pharmaceutical Cargo Security Coalition (PCSC).

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