Edition 1446
21 October 2017
Edition: 1446

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Thousands of illegal drugs seized in Portugal

in News · 28-09-2017 14:25:00 · 0 Comments

Portugal has seized more than six thousand illicit drugs in an international operation.

Thousands of illegal drugs seized in Portugal

Authorities from 122 different countries joined Portugal in the action against businesses suspected of selling illegal medicines over the internet. 
The international police agency, Interpol, said the action, known as Operation Pangea X, involved 197 police, customs and health regulatory authorities and led to the seizure of 25 million illicit and counterfeit medicines worldwide.
In the largest action of its kind, Interpol’s Operation Pangea X targeted the illicit online sale of medicines and medical devices, it saw some 400 arrests worldwide and the seizure of more than USD 51 million worth of potentially dangerous medicines.
The action resulted in the launch of 1,058 investigations, 3,584 websites taken offline and the suspension of more than 3,000 online adverts for illicit pharmaceuticals.
Among the fake and illicit medicines seized during the international week of action (12 – 19 September) were dietary supplements, pain reduction pills, epilepsy medication, erectile dysfunction pills, anti-psychotic medication and nutritional products.
In addition to medicines, Operation Pangea X also focused on the sale of illicit medical devices, such as dental devices and implants, condoms, syringes, medical testing strips and surgical equipment. Illicit devices worth an estimated USD 500,000 were recovered.
Counterfeit contact lenses were discovered for sale in Jordan following complaints from customers, and authorities warned the fake lenses could cause serious eye damage.
As well as raids at addresses linked to the illicit pharmaceutical websites, some 715,000 packages were inspected and 470,000 seized by customs and regulatory authorities.
In the country’s first year participating in Operation Pangea, authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo confiscated nearly 650 kg of illicit anti-malaria pills.
This year’s operation also saw the highest participation of African countries, many like the DRC, taking part for the first time, underscoring the truly global nature of the illicit online pharmaceutical trade.
This year, the operation also targeted the illicit trade in opioid painkillers, in particular the drug Fentanyl. A powerful narcotic, in the last few years the distribution of illicitly manufactured Fentanyl has been linked to thousands of overdoses and deaths worldwide.
Seizures of Fentanyl purchased from illicit online pharmacies occurred in several countries. Highlighting the scope of the demand for illicit Fentanyl, numerous websites exclusively selling the drug were closed down including one called ‘Where to buy Fentanyl without a prescription’.
Starting with just eight countries in 2008, Operation Pangea has grown exponentially during the past 10 years, with police, customs and drug regulatory authorities from 123 countries taking part in 2017.
“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,” said Interpol’s Executive Director of Police Services, Tim Morris.
“The fact that we still see such strong outcomes after 10 years of Pangea operations demonstrates how the online sale of illicit medicines is an ongoing, and ever increasing, challenge for law enforcement and regulatory authorities,” concluded Morris.
In addition to disrupting the criminal networks involved in the sale of illicit and counterfeit medicines, Operation Pangea X also aimed to raise public awareness of the potential dangers associated with buying pharmaceuticals online.

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Edition 1446
21 October 2017
Edition: 1446

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

Twitter