Lilly comments on drug theft at Connecticut facility

INDIANAPOLIS Drugs stolen from an Eli Lilly warehouse in Connecticut Sunday unlikely are to make it into the hands of consumers by legitimate means, the drug maker said Wednesday.

Lilly said it was working with the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations to recover drugs stolen from its Enfield, Conn., warehouse. According to published reports, burglars cut a hole in the roof of the warehouse and rappelled inside, stealing around $70 million worth of drugs.

A spokeswoman for Lilly said tight controls in the U.S. pharmaceutical distribution system would make it “extremely difficult” for the stolen drugs to reach patients via legitimate channels, such as retail pharmacies, and products from the affected lots distributed prior to Sunday were not affected. Nevertheless, the company said it was advising doctors, retailers and consumers to check all pharmaceutical products for signs of tampering or damage prior to purchase or use and that it stopped distributing products from the affected lots on Sunday.

Products affected include the psychiatric drugs Prozac (fluoxetine), Cymbalta (duloxetine hydrochloride), Symbyax (olanzapine and fluoxetine hydrochloride) and Zyprexa (olanzapine), the anti-clotting drug Effient (prasugrel) and the injectable cancer drugs Gemzar (gemcitabine hydrochloride) and Alimta (pemetrexed).

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