House Subcommittee Looks at Retail Theft Crackdown-October 2008


Crime rings that target pharmacies would face federal penalties under bills now pending in Congress.

Retail and community pharmacists have a stake in legislation pending in both the House and the Senate to combat organized retail crime (ORC). A hearing on 3 ORC bills was held September 22 in the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security. Frank Muscato, ORC field investigator for Walgreens, was among those testifying before the subcommittee in support of the legislation.

Muscato cited a number of examples of how ORC affects pharmacies. In June, state and federal law enforcement broke up 2 ORC rings in the San Jose/San Francisco Bay area, recovering more than $5.5 million in stolen property—including OTC medications and tooth whitening strips. In Texas, Walgreens and other retailers collaborated with law enforcement on a case that involved a fence who was buying $50,000 to $100,000 worth of stolen baby formula, diabetic test strips, and other OTC medications each day and storing the goods before resale in a warehouse with no climate controls where temperatures routinely exceeded 100ºF.

Testifying in behalf of one of the bills, the “Organized Retail Crime Act of 2008” (HR 6491), its sponsor, Rep Brad Ellsworth (D, IN), noted, “By criminalizing the facilitation of organized retail crime, federal, state, and local law enforcement will be better equipped to crack down on illegal activity that takes place offline—at pawnshops and flea markets—as well as online.”

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores is a member of the Coalition Against Organized Retail Crime and has been actively engaged in efforts to address the large-quantity theft and reselling of products, such as infant formula, OTC medicines, health and beauty aids, batteries, and electronics.

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) is a partner in RxPATROL, a joint effort between the pharmaceutical industry, pharmacy community, and law enforcement to track pharmacy crime information; last spring, the group distributed a “Protect Your Pharmacy Now” toolkit with resources to help improve pharmacy security.

Related Videos
Laboratory test tubes and solution with stethoscope background | Image Credit: Shutter2U -
Image credit: Andrea Izzotti
Inflation Reduction Act is shown using the text and the US flag - Image credit: Andrii |
Pharmacy Interior | Image Credit: Tyler Olson -
Male pharmacist selling medications at drugstore to a senior woman customer | Image Credit: Zamrznuti tonovi -
Pharmacist assists senior woman in buying medicine in pharmacy - Image credit: Drazen |
Pharmacy, medicine and senior woman consulting pharmacist on prescription. Healthcare, shopping and elderly female in consultation with medical worker for medication box, pills or product in store - Image credit: C Daniels/ |
Image credit: fidaolga -
Pharmacists checking inventory at hospital pharmacy- Image credit: Jacob Lund |
Young male pharmacist giving prescription medications to senior female customer in a pharmacy | Image Credit: Zamrznuti tonovi -
© 2023 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.