Someone stole a semi full of cancer drugs from a Tennessee truck-stop


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/05/07/cancer-heist.html


#2

Last Thursday, a trucker driving a semi carrying $965,000 worth of Octagam – an immunotherapy drug taken by cancer patients

So somebody stole a Nike shoebox full of drugs out the back of a truck?


#3

How exactly does a truck getting stolen indicate the dysfunction of the healthcare system? That’s a bit of a reach.


#4

So that’s $742.31 per vial. Which, sad to say, sounds almost reasonable as far as these things go.


#5

rampage


#6

So, roughly about $7 to manufacture then? :wink:


#7

This is
either
a story about a crime of opportunity
or
a visible indicator of the dysfunction of the American healthcare system.

How is putting up a fuss about you choosing to interpret “either A or B” to mean “just A” not a reach? I think your stated choice has led to your stated confusion


#8

Actually just googled it for giggles, found this: https://bnf.nice.org.uk/medicinal-forms/normal-immunoglobulin.html

Octagam 5% 10g/200ml solution for infusion bottles (Octapharma Ltd)
Active ingredients Size Unit NHS indicative price Drug tariff Drug tariff price

Normal immunoglobulin human 50 mg per 1 ml

1 	bottle (POM) 	£408.00 (Hospital only) 	— 	—

Octagam 5% 2.5g/50ml solution for infusion bottles (Octapharma Ltd)
Active ingredients Size Unit NHS indicative price Drug tariff Drug tariff price

Normal immunoglobulin human 50 mg per 1 ml

1 	bottle (POM) 	£102.00 (Hospital only) 	— 	—

Octagam 5% 5g/100ml solution for infusion bottles (Octapharma Ltd)
Active ingredients Size Unit NHS indicative price Drug tariff Drug tariff price

Normal immunoglobulin human 50 mg per 1 ml

1 	bottle (POM) 	£204.00 (Hospital only) 	— 	—

#9

Maybe the Volvo driver just wanted a truck with a full tank?


#10

Perhaps the thief had a wife who needed the drug but couldn’t afford it and didn’t have any insurance.


#11

We are at this point that it could be considered a reasonable price for a critical drug because of how bad things have gotten.

I was talking about this a few days ago with my father. My mother’s pre-op eye drops she has to take before getting one of her cataracts taken care of costs around $300 dollars before insurance and he had to pay the other half after insurance (about $150). That small little bottle would have probably cost less than $20 USD elsewhere in the world. That’s when I realized he might be starting to change his stance against Obamacare :laughing:


#12

https://www.starbene.it/farmaci/octagam-iv-fl-50ml-5%_035143015
Looks that humane immunoglobulin is costly. Other brands have similar costs, and are hospital-only drugs.
https://www.starbene.it/farmaci/igvena-ev-1fl-50ml-50g_l+set_025266154

Maybe it’s a thief on request, because I think that placing a truck of hospial-only medications is a bit difficult, and it’s clearly not a case of a lorry thief.


#13

It’s in that ballpark in Ontario, maybe a bit more. And that’s for something not covered by Ontario’s drug plan for seniors.


#14

Seems like there are only two possibilities: either the person who stole the truck knew what was in it or they didn’t know. If they did know, is there likely to be a black market for something like this? Could you really self-medicate with it?

If they didn’t know, would the black market even be accessible? Doesn’t seem like something you could sell to just anyone either wholesale or retail. Are the boxes not marked? So they took it away to a warehouse somewhere to let the brains of the operation have a look:

“Well, let’s open 'er up, see what we’ve got… Crap. It’s cancer drugs.”

“Ohhhhh…” “Sheeeeit”

“Fuck a duck, y’all, couldn’t it have been blingy sneakers instead of this worthless life-sustaining miracle juice. Now get your asses out of here and go steal another truck.”


#15

Lockjaw-treatment immunoglobulin I suppose is differently made than HIV immunoglobulin. The latter is hospital-only, the former is a repeatable recipe, almost an OTC drug and costs 1/20.


#16

Seems pretty obvious to me, but: That’s because the drugs that people need to live are so incredibly expensive that even when the drugs are sold on to the black market, it represents a significant score; also the fact that there is a black market for these drugs. In many countries, the ones with functional healthcare systems, neither of these things would be true.


#17

This sounds like a criminal mastermind type of heist, to know where the pharmaceuticals truck is, get it at the right time, and have a way of selling stolen cancer drugs. Given at least a 50% discount (probably closer to 90%) on the stolen value of the stuff, this master thief would have made a few hundred thousand at most. That seems… hardly worth it for the amount of effort to plan this out.

Seems much more likely to me that someone might have seen a truck leaving a pharmaceuticals factory, or seen some indication that it’s a pharmaceuticals trucks, and didn’t know at all what’s in it but was hoping for something actually easy to sell on the black market. That would be painkillers or anything that can get you high. Probably this thief was very disappointed at having a million dollars worth of drugs that don’t get anyone high and can’t be sold.


#18

“I didn’t do it!”

https://consequenceofsound.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/martin-shkreli.png?w=807

“I swear!”


#19

So, how much does extra security for the delivery of the drugs and insurance to cover theft allow them to add to the top of the prices for these drugs?


#20

I didn’t interpret it as just one of the two choices. Cory did that in the article as I quoted. I’m not the one limiting the possibilities here. I’m just pointing out that others have jumped to a conclusion not supported by the facts as reported.