Pfizer takes on security screenings for air cargo

Drugmakers are always dealing with regulators. If it's not the patent office or the FDA, it's customs officials and the like. But national security? Beginning August 1, the Transportation Security Administration is launching new preflight screenings on all cargo shipped on passenger planes.

Given the possibility of screening snafus, Pfizer is one of 873 companies in various industries that have been certified by TSA to screen their cargo themselves. "Delays alone could hurt our product," Brad Elrod, Pfizer's director of global conveyance security, tells Bloomberg. "It could be sitting in non-temperature-controlled environments. If you open it up to inspect it, you ruin the product."

Companies that leave the screenings to airlines will find their shipping fees increased. And for companies shipping product through the busiest cargo gateways--think Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport--the danger of supply backups is heightened, TSA officials say. Hence, it was "a very simple choice" for Pfizer to do the work itself, Elrod said.

- read the Bloomberg piece