A record number of fake online pharmacies have been shut down under Operation Pangea XIV targeting the sale of counterfeit and illicit medicines and medical products.
The operation coordinated by INTERPOL involved police, customs and health regulatory authorities from 92 countries.
It resulted in 113,020 web links including websites and online marketplaces being closed down or removed, the highest number since the first Operation Pangea in 2008.
In Venezuela a man was arrested after he developed an e-commerce platform on WhatsApp to sell illicit medicines.
Operation Pangea XIV
- Code-named “Operation Pangea XIV”, the exercise was coordinated by Interpol.
- It involved the police, customs, and health regulatory authorities of 92 countries against the sale of fake and illicit medicines and medical products.
- Indian agencies also participated in the operation, said an official of the Central Bureau of Investigation that is the nodal body for the Interpol in the country.
- It showed that criminals were continuing to cash in on the huge demand for personal protection and hygiene products due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Fake and unauthorized COVID-19 testing kits accounted for more than half of all medical devices seized during the week of action (May 18 – 25) which resulted in 277 arrests worldwide and the seizure of potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals worth more than $23 million.
Operation Pangea XIV was Supported by the Pharmaceutical Security Institute, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime/World Customs Organization’s Container Control Programme and Europol, overall the operation resulted in the seizure of around 9 million medical devices and illicit pharmaceuticals, including:
- Hypnotic and sedative medication
- erectile dysfunction pills
- Medical devices (Covid Test kits, masks, syringes, catheters, surgical devices etc)
- anabolic steroids
- antiseptics and germicides
- anti-cancer medication