Thieves targeting pharmacy delivery vans

January 5, 2016

As pharmacies take steps to curb in-store robberies, thieves are increasing targeting the delivery vans that transport prescription painkillers from warehouses to pharmacies and hospitals.

As pharmacies take steps to curb in-store robberies, thieves are increasing targeting the delivery vans that transport prescription painkillers from warehouses to pharmacies and hospitals.

According to FreightWatch International, there have been nearly 100 thefts from vehicles delivering pharmaceuticals in the past two years. FreightWatch, an Austin, Texas firm that provides logistics security services, said such thefts are happening almost four times more frequently than in 2012.

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According to the Pharmaceutical Cargo Security Coalition, last year there were at least 87 cases of robbery/theft from vehicles delivering pharmaceuticals to pharmacies and hospitals.

“We still have a segment of criminals that very much want to get their hands on those pills because they have high street value,” Captain Gregg Rector of the Hoover, Ala., police department told the website STAT. “People are willing to go to extreme means to get those pills.”

Law enforcement officials speculate that some thieves are now targeting the drugs before they reach the pharmacies due to security upgrades such as time-delayed safes, in-store security guards, and GPS tracking devices that can be attached to prescription painkiller bottles.

“These thefts are almost exclusively controlled substances. And where we rarely saw violent attacks in cargo thefts, these are unusual in that they involve the threat of force or the use of force, ” Gregg Goneconto, a former FDA criminal investigator, told STAT.

 

Many of the delivery drivers are unarmed, work alone, and do not receive much security training. The thefts are not from the large tractor-trailers that transport the drugs from the warehouses. Rather, they are from the smaller vans or couriers that deliver the drugs to hospitals and pharmacies.

“We were hiring and contracting with carrier entities without really delving into what is necessary to protect our interests,” Charles Forsaith, the director of supply chain security at Purdue Pharma, told the website. “We have learned you have to pay attention to things like background checks of drivers, reputations of companies, what they have for insurance, and you have to, as simple as it sounds, put in writing exactly what you want. The locking of the vehicle is a perfect example.”