Packaging Advice

3 ways to protect your pharmaceutical shipments from theft

Shipping pharmaceutical products can be complicated, and with the added pressure of the pandemic and roll out of the vaccine, we know it is more important than ever to make sure your items are protected.


Unfortunately, pharmaceutical theft is a known issue across the world. Did you know the hotspots for cargo theft include Moscow, Dusseldorf, and the South East of England? It is thought that the more people who encounter your items during shipment, the greater the likelihood that it could be stolen. So how can you feel assured that your pharma shipments will reach their destination safely?

In this article we will be exploring the ways you can protect your pharmaceutical shipments from these occurrences.

1. Choose secure pharmaceutical packaging

While it is important to make sure your sensitive products have the right temperature-controlled packaging to preserve the quality and keep them from perishing, considering secure protective facilities is also crucial. This could include another outer cushioned box or security devices that can show if your packaging has been tampered with.

At Swiftpak, we recommend using security labels that provide evidence of tampering through their permanent peel-and-stick adhesive backing. If someone attempts to peel back the label, the messaging is left behind on the package to warn the receiver the packaging has been tampered with.

Tamper Evidence Tape can also be used to create a permanent bond with the carton, creating a tamper-evident seal. This means if someone were to take it off, you would be able to see the damage clearly.

Some trucks also have special locks on trailers and doors for added protection and if they seal cargo tightly to the truck bed it will make it more difficult to steal.

Having a supplier that uses GPS tracking can be helpful as well as this is used to alert when a truck is not where it is supposed to be.


2. Choose a reliable packaging supplier

Going on the theory that the less contact with your packaging the better, it is important to choose a courier who can offer a direct, non-stop route. Although this may cost more, the time your package stays in transit will be massively reduced, as well as the fact that the truck will not be opened and closed by multiple different people.

A non-stop delivery route would mean you can feel assured that your pharmaceuticals will be secure with the least amount of handling. It is also crucial to check that the supplier you use has all the correct licenses and equipment necessary to ship your products. Some of the questions you should be asking yourself are:

  • Do your suppliers have a security function for in-transit and warehouse operations?
  • How do they select their carriers? Do they require their carriers to meet security and insurance requirements?
  • Do they have specific guidelines to fully protect pharmaceutical shipments? Including on weekends?
  • Do they have the proper licensing to ship your pharmaceutical products?

3. Choose smaller pharmaceutical batch deliveries

Cargo theft is a significant concern when it comes to pharmaceuticals as it results in product loss and negatively impacts patients who rely on you for their pharma products. It can also lead to those products ending up on the black market.

Most warehouses are very secure, so the majority of thefts seem to occur when products are in transit. Considering sending your pharma products in smaller batches and at different times can reduce the chances of any incidences, especially if they are high value. If something were to occur, you would have less to lose. Also, thieves would not want to keep committing the crime in the same place to get all of the pharmaceuticals as it would raise awareness and increase the chances of being caught.

Another way to increase the security of your shipments is to ensure the delivery involves a two-person team so that the cargo never goes unattended. It also means that if there is another person there able to drive, the vehicle can be moved away if any situation arises.

Swiftpak as a pharmaceutical packaging supplier

At Swiftpak, we are a Certified B CorporationĀ®. This means we are a trusted business meeting the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability. We have over 40 years experience and work with key players in the pharmaceutical industry, hence why we understand the requirements for protective packaging. If you would like to know more about our pharmaceutical packaging solutions, contact our packaging experts today.