Chesterfield heist leads to nationwide health alert

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning about the popular drug Advair. It is the result of a high profile theft that happened in Chesterfield County last July.

Thieves cut a hole in the ceiling of a Galxo-Smith-Klien warehouse and rappelled down in, swiping more than 25,000 Advair inhalers- valued at $6-million.

Now almost a year later those inhalers are showing up on the shelves of reputable pharmacies and the FDA is warning people to check their labels.

"Who knows where these things were stored?" said Dr. Zachary Shook, a local physician. "They could've been stored outside or dumped in water. We have no idea."

At this point, no Richmond area pharmacy has reported finding the stolen inhalers, but Dr.  Shook believes it is still important for patients make sure, before they use the drug.

"If you are taking Advair I would just check with the lot numbers," he said. "And if they aren't the same lot numbers don't worry they are perfectly safe and totally fine to use."

Here are lot numbers to look out for:

In the 60 dose Advair diskus 250/50 inhalers lot numbers 9ZP2255 - NDC 0173-0696-00.

In the 60 dose Advair diskus 500/50 inhalers lot numbers 9Z03325 - NDC-0173-0697-00.

The news is important for 20 million Americans who use Advair.

"If people have wheezing or shortness of breath all the time they can use that medicine," said Dr. Shook. "They can alleviate their symptoms completely in most cases."

Which is why its important to get a version of the drug that has not been tampered with.

To learn more about the FDA's Advair warning click here.

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