Drugmakers, device-makers seeking theft protections

One of the most high-profile drug heists occurred last year when thieves busted through an Eli Lilly warehouse in Connecticut and made off with $75 million in drugs. More commonly, thieves steal trucks from rest stops when the drivers are gone.

FreightWatch International, a security firm that tracks cargo theft, told Newsweek last year that pharmaceutical thefts are on the rise. The firm reported 35 drug thefts in 2007 and 46 in each 2008 and 2009.

The stolen drugs may be sold overseas, but they sometimes wind up back in the U.S. market, carrying with them a bigger risk of being mishandled.

The drugmakers want harsher penalties for those who swipe medical products. For example, they say criminal law doesn’t distinguish between the theft of a truck loaded with tires and a truck carrying cancer medication.

In its 2010 letter, the FDA said it was already working with the pharmaceutical industry to prevent counterfeit, diverted, unapproved and misbranded products from hitting the market. The agency said it added medical product theft to its efforts. 

The coalition of drugmakers registered with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck to lobby on its behalf.