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NACDS backs legislation targeting organized retail crime
November 5th, 2009
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Association of Chain Drug Stores is urging Congress to pass a pair of bills designed to help combat organized retail crime.
NACDS called on lawmakers to act as it expressed its support for the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security’s hearing on organized retail crime, held Thursday.
"NACDS recognizes Chairman Rep. Bobby Scott (D. Va.) for holding today's hearing on organized retail crime," NACDS chief executive officer Steve Anderson commented. "As health care providers, we are glad to see that Congress is focusing on organized retail crime as a direct threat to patient health and safety and to our economy."
Organized retail crime (ORC) is a well-coordinated, complex scheme in which individuals steal large quantities of retail goods and consumer products — such as infant formula, baby food, over-the-counter medications and medical devices — from various retail outlets to resell them on unrestricted and poorly monitored online auction sites, according to NACDS.
Besides committing theft, ORC is dangerous because the stolen items are often mishandled, adulterated and expired and frequently find their way back into commercial retail, placing consumers and patients at risk, the association said.
"Two key pieces of legislation were introduced earlier this year to help curb the incidence and impact of ORC," NACDS said in a statement for the hearing's record. "The Organized Retail Crime Act of 2009 (H.R. 1173), by Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D, Ind.), would amend the federal criminal code to make it illegal to engage in ORC activities and imposes obligations on online marketplaces and those who are considered high-volume sellers at such venues. In addition, the E-Fencing Enforcement Act of 2009 (H.R. 1166), by chairman Scott, requires online entities to halt sales of stolen goods and imposes a duty to collect data law enforcement can use to prosecute those that sell these goods on their web sites.
"We urge all members of Congress, including members of this subcommittee, to support and work for swift enactment of H.R. 1173 and H.R. 1166," NACDS stated.
NACDS said it has worked with the Coalition Against Organized Retail Crime (CAORC) to combat this crime in retail settings. It is estimated that ORC costs retailers up to $30 billion annually due to product thefts, security expenditures and further restrictions of product varieties and patient access.
ORC also results in shortages and access problems when products are stolen from store shelves, NACDS added. In response to this theft, retailers often must remove these products from the sales floor or limit their access, such as by putting them in locked display cases. All of this leads to higher prices, as retailers are forced to shift costs to consumers, the association explained.
"Legislation, such as H.R. 1173 and H.R. 1166, that increases prevention, enhances deterrence and provides transparency to the black market online auction web sites, where these ORC criminals now operate anonymously, is needed to address this growing criminal epidemic," Anderson noted.