NPR logo Thieves Rappel From Ceiling In $75 Million Pharma Raid

Thieves Rappel From Ceiling In $75 Million Pharma Raid

Here's a reminder of just how vast the global black market for pharmaceuticals is: In a weekend raid, thieves stole $75 million worth of antidepressants, antipsychotics and other drugs from a Connecticut warehouse.

The perps scaled a brick wall, cut a hole in the ceiling and rappelled down, the AP reports. They disabled an alarm then spent at least an hour loading pallets of drugs into a vehicle at a loading dock.

There were similar thefts last year in Tennessee and Mississippi, where thieves also cut through the ceilings of drug warehouses, the AP said. The warehouse hit last weekend was owned by Eli Lilly.

About $184 million of pharmaceutical drugs were stolen last year in the U.S., roughly twice as much as the year earlier, according to the Indianapolis Star, Lilly's hometown paper.

It's unclear where the drugs will turn up. The black market for pharmaceuticals tends to be bigger overseas, in countries where there's less regulation, one expert told the AP. But the Indy paper notes that stolen insulin turned up at a Houston medical facility last year. The insulin hadn't been properly stored, and some patients who used it had dangerous spikes in blood sugar, the FDA said.