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Senate Bill Aims to Combat Pharmaceutical Theft

March 08, 2011
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Law enforcement officials would have more leeway to pursue and punish criminals who steal prescription pharmaceuticals under a proposal introduced by Senate lawmakers, according to the Associated Press. A bill supported by six Democrats would increase the penalties for stealing stolen medical products and give police extra tools, including wiretaps, to track thieves. The bill accomplishes this by bringing medical theft under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations law, which was originally developed to prosecute organized crime. The measure comes amid a rise in the value of pharmaceutical heists, which has increased 350 percent since 2007. Last March, the theft of $75 million worth of Eli Lilly drugs from a Connecticut warehouse drew new attention to the problem. It was the largest crime of its kind on record. Along with stiffer penalties, the bill would formally criminalize the acts of storing, transporting or changing labels on stolen medical products. Those activities are currently not covered by criminal statutes.

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