Local stores, pharmacies react to product tampering investigation


CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) – Police say hundreds of products may have been tampered with before being sold at local pharmacies and grocery stores. Exactly what substance was added to the products is still being investigated, but police do have a suspect.

The suspect hasn’t been identified, because charges have not yet been filed. 

Now, stores are working to make sure what they’re selling is safe.

“If there’s any question, it’s better to air on the side of caution,” said Erik Hefti, of the pharmaceutical sciences department at Harrisburg University.

That warning comes after police say hundreds of health and beauty products and medications may have been tampered with. 

The investigation started when someone who bought Sensodyne toothpaste found a different brand inside the packaging and a mysterious substance was inside the tube. 

“The Cumberland County forensic lab is rushing this case,” said Det. Andrew Bassler of the Silver Spring Township Police Department.

Police say they know who their suspect is and he may have returned the altered products to be put back on shelves. They’re investigating items at Giant, CVS, Wegmans and Walmart in Silver Spring and Hampden townships.

“People should be more wary of drugs that they actually internalize,” said Hefti.

Giant says it removed all impacted products and restocked.

“We are conducting a voluntary recall, and we are using our bonus card data to contact customers who have purchased the named products,” said Christopher Brand, the director of external communications and community relations at Giant.

“We are committed to product safety and we take product tampering seriously. We will work closely with law enforcement,” said Tara Aston, the senior manager of national media relations at Walmart.

The Wegmans off of the Carlisle Pike took Sensodyne off the shelves and called customers with shoppers cards to tell them they could return the product.

ABC27 didn’t hear back from CVS but saw the toothpaste was still being sold. 

“Anything that’s been opened, that’s been accessed before, you can actually see the product, it lost it’s elegance, so to speak,” said Hefti.

The Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General says to be on the lookout for unusual leaks, swelling, bulging around seals, tape or excessive glue. 

ABC27 asked investigators for a specific list of items to be wary of but have not yet heard back.

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