Interpol: Successful world-wide strike against fake medicine

© Interpol
In the largest operation of its kind to date, Interpol has just worked with authorities from more than 120 countries to combat fake medicines and pharmaceutical products. In total, the investigators seized over 25 million counterfeits, 400 suspects have been arrested.

Between 12 and 19 September 2017, under the codename Pangea X, Interpol initiated multiple actions against illicit trafficking of counterfeit medicines and medical products in more than 120 countries*. In total, the nearly 200 police, customs and health regulatory authorities involved confiscated more than 25 million counterfeit and illegal pharmaceuticals, estimated at approximately 51 million US dollars (over 43 million euros). In addition, further medical products worth approximately 500,000 US dollars (about 423,000 euros) were successfully seized.

Among the confiscated counterfeit substances were diet pills and food supplements, fake epilepsy medications, potency-enhancing drugs and anti-psychotic pharmaceuticals. Also discovered by investigators were imitation condoms, dental implants, syringes and surgical devices.

During the Pangea X operations, special attention was also given to counterfeit pain mediacation, especially opioid drugs such as fentanyl. Illegal imitations of such narcotics have been found in several of the participating countries and are said to have resulted in thousands of overdoses and deaths in recent years.

In order to prevent the distribution of such potentially fatal counterfeit drugs, the investigators and operatives initiated not only raids and customs seizures but also measures against illegal online shops and pharmacies. A total of approximately 3,600 web pages were taken off the net, over which illegal pharmaceuticals had been sold. Authorities also removed about 3,000 online advertisements for various counterfeit medicines.

According to Tim Morris, Interpol’s Executive Director of Police Services, the sheer number of online actions marks a dangerous development. “With more and more people purchasing everyday items including medicines online, criminals are exploiting this trend to make a profit, putting lives at risk in the process.”

*Countries involved in Pangea X: Albania, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cambodia, Canada, Cameroon, Chad, Chile, China, Comoros, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Curaçao, Cyprus, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, El Salvador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Korea (Republic Of), Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mali, Maldives, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zambia.

Interpol: Successful world-wide strike against fake medicine Interpol: Successful world-wide strike against fake medicine
Interpol: Successful world-wide strike against fake medicine Interpol: Successful world-wide strike against fake medicine
© Interpol

Sources: Interpol, Europol

– Advertisement –