Pharma group warns warehouse thieves may strike again

Security CameraA number of pharmaceutical companies have reported sightings of suspicious activities around distribution facilities in the wake of the $76m theft from Eli Lilly's warehouse in Enfield, Connecticut, last month.

There have been reports of individuals taking photos of warehousing facilities and trailer yards, and an industry group that focuses on security issues - the Pharmaceutical Cargo Security Coalition - has warned the companies it represents to be especially vigilant.

There are signs that criminal groups have identified pharmaceutical warehouses as soft targets, with very high-value products and limited personal risks, according to the PCSC's chairman Chuck Forsaith.

Meanwhile, although there has been a strong connection with pharmaceutical thefts and criminal groups operating from South Florida, the sharp increase in this type of activity could mean that many different criminal entities are becoming involved.

"Many of our members have re-tested their intrusion detection systems, updated their security protocols, and entertained better relationships with local and state law enforcement officials," added Forsaith, who's primary job is corporate director of supply chain security at Purdue Pharmaceuticals.

"If you haven’t done so as of yet, I strongly urge that you do," he advised. Forsaith will be presenting on the topic of pharmaceutical security at the 2010 PDA/FDA Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Workshop on April 26-28 in Bethesda, Maryland.

Pharma security news in brief

- A courier van delivering controlled drugs for Cardinal Health to a Walgreen Pharmacy was robbed at gunpoint in Nashville, Tennessee, on April 9. The thieves stole the van, which was recovered empty shortly afterwards. The value of the shipment has not been divulged.

- Two full truckload (FTL) shipments of over-the-counter (OTC) drug products were stolen at a freight terminal in Mississauga, Canada on March 27. Both trailers and their tractors were recovered two days later. The contents of one appeared to be intact, while the other - which contained 57 pallets of GlaxoSmithKline products - was missing. The estimated value of the GSK products is $322,000.

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