Increasing Cargo Theft of Pharmaceuticals May Have Brand Impact and Result in Recalls

The significant increase in pharmaceutical cargo thefts in the US carries hidden consequences for drug firms beyond the dollar loss they incur, including damaged reputations and the need to perform product recalls.

Speaking at the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) Manufacturing Controls Seminar in New Brunswick, New Jersey in mid-October, Freightwatch CEO Barry Conlon discussed the rise in drug cargo thefts, how they may impact the firms whose products are stolen, and strategies to deter the thefts.

This increase in cargo thefts and their significant impact has been on FDA’s radar screen as part of its effort to help increase the security of the drug supply chain.  In May, the agency sent a letter to medical companies expressing concern about the expanding cargo theft problem of FDA-regulated drug products and their consequences and clarifying its expectations for companies and the agency’s role when thefts occur (IPQ “In the News” May 11).

Conlon explained that stolen products can end up back in the legitimate supply chain and that it is important to remember that they may have been mishandled while they were out of the company’s control.  How theft investigations are conducted and how firms react to what they discover will determine the impact on them, he cautioned.

[More on drug cargo thefts, their potential impact on drug firms, and pointers and solutions from FreightWatch CEO Conlon is provided for subscribers here. To subscribe to IPQ, click here.]