The U.S. freight security consultancy FreightWatch reported that $5 million-worth of prescription drugs have been stolen from trucks and warehouses in 41 incidents during 2010.
The increased demand for expensive pharmaceuticals in the wake of the economic recession, especially by those who lack medical insurance to pay for their drugs, has helped make medication shipments a prime target for organized crime.
“There is a steady rise in value and volume,” explained a director at FreightWatch. “Thieves steal what the consumer wants to buy, with so much pharma advertising and people seeking to save money and purchase drugs cheaply.”
Earlier this month, Kentucky robbers stole millions of dollars of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s prescription medications from an unmarked truck en route to Canada during the driver’s 15-minute break.
This followed in the wake of a robbery from the Eli Lilly warehouse in Connecticut last spring, in which the thieves stole a record $76-million-worth of medications.
The FDA says that these robberies pose a threat to the public health, as patients have reported adverse reactions after taken stolen drugs that had not been stored or handled properly. They ordered pharmaceutical companies to increase their security and to cooperate with them in apprehending the criminals.