Pharmaceutical Cargo Safety: A Public Health Issue

csip_slide_cargoandpillsMany counterfeit drugs enter the U.S. supply chain through a combination of pharmaceutical cargo thefts and rogue online drug sellers. Last year alone, the number of seizures of counterfeit pharmaceuticals resulting from cargo thefts was 9% of the total seizures for theft of intellectual property in the U.S.

Pharmaceutical products obtained through cargo theft are a serious cause for concern, as they pose a severe risk to patients who purchase them from illicit sellers online, without prescriptions. In some cases, the drugs haven’t even gone through clinical trials or have not yet been approved by the FDA.

Several years ago, after an Eli Lilly warehouse was burglarized, resulting in $76 million worth of cardiovascular and depression medications being taken, the industry created the Pharmaceutical Cargo Security Coalition (PCSC). The PCSC is an organization comprised of pharmaceutical industry professionals, law enforcement and government entities, cargo insurers, carriers and risk management advocates who are dedicated to preventing theft of pharmaceutical products in transit. The purpose of the PCSC is to figure out how to protect against a security problem that was causing large losses and putting patients at risk from stolen drugs.  They offer training, intelligence and relevant information. Since its inception, the PCSC and its industry partners have helped significantly reduce thefts of pharmaceutical cargo in the U.S., with the value of losses last year being only about 4.4% of what they were just two years ago.

While the integrity of the pharmaceutical supply chain is better than it has been due to the hard work of PCSC and other industry partners, the illicit drug sellers who try to exploit the system for their nefarious reasons are relentless. That is why CSIP and its members and partners are working together to combat rogue online pharmacies and educate consumers before they become victims.


The Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP) and our 13 member companies have the shared goal of helping address the growing problem of consumer access to illegitimate pharmaceutical products on the Internet. Continue to read this blog for updates on CSIP’s education, enforcement and information-sharing efforts.