Stolen Inhalers Reach Pharmacies, FDA Issues Warning

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Two lots of stolen Advair Diskus (fluticasone propionate and salmeterol inhalation powder) inhalers have begun turning up in pharmacies, the FDA reported Friday.

Stolen in August 2009 from a GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) warehouse near Richmond, Virginia, the inhalers could pose a threat to patients due to improper storage conditions or mishandling, the agency announced in a press release.

The products that have resurfaced in pharmacies—“a small number,” according to a GSK spokesperson—are the first of the stolen lots to appear in the drug supply chain. FDA officials say there may be more stolen product on the market—a possibility the agency is currently investigating.

In the meantime, pharmacists are advised to remove any Advair Diskus inhalers marked with the affected lot numbers from pharmacy shelves. These include:

• Lot 9ZP2255 - NDC 0173-0696-00, Advair Diskus 250/50, 60 Dose, Exp: Sep 2010 (14,400 inhalers)

• Lot 9ZP3325 - NDC 0173-0697-00, Advair Diskus 500/50, 60 Dose, Exp: Sep 2010 (11,200 inhalers)

Patients who have received stolen Advair Diskus inhalers through their pharmacy should stop using them immediately, contact GlaxoSmithKline’s customer hotline at 888-825-5249, and consult with their physician or pharmacist for a replacement.

The agency also urged pharmacists and wholesalers to report any information—such as “suspicious or unsolicited offers for the Advair Diskus lots in question”—to the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations.

More information about cargo thefts is available at www.fda.gov/ICECI/CriminalInvestigations/ucm182888.htm.

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