Senate panel OKs tougher penalties for prescription drug thefts

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According to a summary, the bill would: 

• criminalize the theft, storage and transportation of medical products as well as the altering of labels of stolen or expired medical products with the intent to introduce the product into the supply chain;

• increase sentences for the theft, transportation and storage of stolen products;

• enhance penalties for the "fences" who knowingly obtain stolen medical products for resale into the supply chain;

• enhance penalties when harm occurs or trust is broken, for example where death results from ingestion of a stolen substance or where the defendant is employed by an organization in the supply chain;

• make theft of medical products a predicate for the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) law and federal wiretap law;

• increase possible sentences for robbing pharmacies of controlled substances; and

• provide restitution to victims injured by stolen medical products.

The bipartisan legislation is cosponsored by Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.).