Thieves grab up to $75 million in Eli Lilly drugs

NEW YORK, March 17 (Reuters) - As much as $75 million in popular Eli Lilly & Co LLY.N prescription medicines such as Prozac were stolen during a raging storm from a Connecticut warehouse over the weekend, police said on Tuesday.

Burglars broke into the Lilly warehouse either late Saturday or early Sunday in the town of Enfield, Connecticut, as violent rain and winds lashed the Eastern seaboard, Enfield Lt. Steven Kaselouskas said.

“You certainly don’t see a $50 million to $75 million burglary many times in your career,” he said. “This was a well-planned event.”

The thieves disabled a burglar alarm in the building and carted away dozens of pallets loaded with Lilly antidepressants Prozac and Cymbalta, anti-psychotic Zyprexa and other company medicines, according to published reports.

A warehouse employee saw the hole in the roof on Sunday afternoon and notified police. Police did not receive notice of an alarm going off, said Kaselouskas.

Kaselouskas speculated the drugs could be headed for the black market and possibly overseas, where there is demand for medicines made in the United States because of their deemed safety.

Lilly officials could not immediately be reached for comment and did not issue a release about the theft.

But a Lilly spokesman said in a published report the loss may not have a material financial impact for the company and has not disrupted supply of medicines to the east coast.

Enfield, the FBI and Connecticut State Police are investigating. (Reporting by Ransdell Pierson, editing by Philip Barbara)