$700,000 in Gold Dust Missing At Pfizer Labs

$700,000 in Gold Dust Missing At Pfizer Labs

December 10th, 2012 // 7:47 pm @

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As Pfizer looks to cut millions of dollars in expenses, one way that ceo Ian Read can save money is to ask the folks who run the labs not to leave gold dust lying around. Why? About $700,000 in gold dust has gone missing from a Pfizer lab in Chesterfield, Missouri, and it remains unclear how it disappeared, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes.

Of course, the local police launched an investigation after a Pfizer employee, who was conducting an inventory, failed to find the gold dust. The paper writes that, depending upon the purity, the amount that went missing could weigh from 30 to 70 pounds and notes that the greater the purity, the lighter the weight.

“We’re not even sure if they just didn’t account for it and it was used naturally, or if it was stolen or misplaced,” Chesterfield police captain Stephen Lewis tells the paper. “Some of it is gone and some isn’t.”

A Pfizer spokesperson adds that “we are taking this matter very seriously and working closely with local law enforcement authorities on this ongoing investigation. It would be inappropriate for us to comment any further at this time until the police investigation has been completed.”

For those wondering why Pfizer has gold in its labs, researchers have been experimenting with gold particles for some time. For instance, gold dust has been used as a weapon against cancer by helping to deliver drugs past the immune system and into tumurs, The Daily Mail noted in a story back in 2007.

“Scientists have succeeded in attaching molecules of an anticancer drug to gold particles just a fraction of the width of a human hair,” the paper wrote. “The particles are so small they can sneak past the body’s defense mechanisms without being destroyed and deliver the cancer-killing medicine to the heart of the tumor.”

The publicity over the theft, however, is likely to give drugmakers a new headache as they must now takes steps to tighten security and employee screening. The pharmaceutical industry is desperate to have some gold in its pipeline, but at this rate, may not even have gold in its labs.


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