The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is growing increasingly concerned about cargo and warehouse thefts of FDA-regulated products.
In fact, in an urgent letter sent to companies and a wide range of other key stakeholders last week, the FDA aimed to:
* raise awareness among industry about each firm's responsibility to review and strengthen their security practices,
* inform industry of the actions the FDA will take when the agency becomes aware of a large-scale theft, and outline steps that firms should take, and
* emphasize the importance of notifying and informing members of the supply chain and the public after thefts occur.
Unfortunately, thefts of over-the-counter medicines, vaccines, medical devices, and even infant formula have become more prevalent. According to the FDA, there have been several cases where patients experienced adverse reactions from stolen drugs, reactions that were most likely due to improper storage and handling.
As the FDA points out in the letter, companies need to be proactive to prevent these crimes from occurring:
Of course, the best intervention is to prevent these thefts from occurring in the first place. Firms engaged in providing medical products and infant formula to the public have a fundamental responsibility to continuously review their warehouse physical security and security practices and procedures for transporting products to ensure that measures are in place to minimize the risk of warehouse and cargo theft. These measures are important throughout the supply chainstarting from the point of manufacturing, continuing through the distribution of the product and to the retail outlet or other point where the product will be sold. Your members should ensure that their business partners and carriers review and have strengthened their storage and in-transit security practices as well. Your members need to be one-step ahead of thieves in securing their warehouses and product transport.
The full text of the letter is available here.