Pharmaceutical theft: news in brief

Robbers in balaclavasA number of thefts - and recoveries - of pharmaceutical cargo and stocks have been reported in recent weeks, including cases involving GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi-Aventis, Teva, Alcon, AstraZeneca and Baxter International.

- Polish police have recovered a 11-tonne load of human blood plasma that had been stolen at a truck rest stop in Germany whilst in transit to Austria. The owner of the shipment is US company BioLife Plasma Services, a subsidiary of Baxter International. The shipment has been valued at around $1.4m.

- A shipment of pharmaceutical products belonging to Alcon Laboratories and Teva Pharmaceutical, stolen on February 22, was recovered intact by enforcement agencies in South Florida, USA. The value of the shipment has not been disclosed although the haul included 70 pallets of assorted prescription, over-the-counter and personal healthcare products bound for a Walgreens distribution centre.

- A pharmaceutical shipment including products belonging to GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi-Aventis was hijacked in Puerto Rico on January 29, whilst in transit from the distributor to wholesalers. A wide range of prescription medicines and vaccines was taken in the incident.

- Four people have been charged with offences related to a breaking and entering incident a pharmacy in Georgetown, Guyana, on February 12 which involved the theft of pharmaceuticals valued at more than GYD six million ($29,000). Bail has been set at $200,000 and the four are expected to make a court appearance on March 13. They were reportedly intercepted by enforcement officers whilst removing items from the pharmacy.

- AstraZeneca suffered a loss in transit that involved a FedEx shipment en route between Tennessee and an AmerisourceBergen wholesale facility in Illinois in late December/early January. The total value of the shipment, which included cancer drug Casodex (bicalutamide), antipsychotic Seroquel (quetiapine) gastrointestinal Nexium (esomeprazole), cardiovasculars Toprol XL (metoprolol succinate) and Crestor (rosuvastatin) and migraine treatment Zomig (zolmitriptan) was in excess of $500,000.

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