Stolen epilepsy drug resurfaces two years later

A heist that happened nearly two years ago is affecting the drug supply chain now. Shire Pharma is finding among its expired returns Carbatrol from the stolen lots. The drugmaker suspects that more stolen product may be on the market.

In October 2008, Shire shipped some 45,000 bottles of the epilepsy medication and the ADHD drug Adderall XR from a North Carolina plant. The shipment was stolen en route to a distribution center in Kentucky. All of the Carbatrol is now expired; the Adderall expires at the end of February 2012, says a Shire letter to trading partners.

Stolen drugs usually find their way to Latin America or to illegal online pharmacies, as we've reported (see "Top 10 Pharma Cargo Thefts by Value, 2009/2010"). But they sometimes resume the trek through the legitimate supply chain, posing a health risk because drug integrity may have been compromised on the outside. High-value payloads are attracting a better organized criminal element than in the past; thieves rely on advanced reconnaissance to find vulnerable and valuable cargoes.

- here's the Shire letter