Thousands of illicit online pharmacies shut down in the largest-ever global operation targeting fake medicines

22 May 2014
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The Hague, The Netherlands

Europol has, together with nearly 200 enforcement agencies across 111 countries, taken part in INTERPOL-coordinated Operation Pangea VII targeting criminal networks behind the sale of fake medicines via illicit online pharmacies. The operation led to 237 arrests worldwide and the seizure more than USD 31 million worth of potentially dangerous medicines.

Operation Pangea VII is the largest-ever global operation targeting fake medicines. It resulted in the launch of 1,235 investigations, the removal of more than 19,000 adverts for illicit pharmaceuticals via social media platforms and more than 10,600 websites shut down.

In addition to interventions on the ground, which included the identification and dismantlement of three illicit laboratories in Colombia, the operation also targeted the main areas exploited by organized crime in the illegal online medicine trade: rogue domain name registrars, electronic payment systems and delivery services.

Operation Pangea VII was coordinated by INTERPOL, with the World Customs Organization (WCO), the Permanent Forum of International Pharmaceutical Crime (PFIPC), the Heads of Medicines Agencies Working Group of Enforcement Officers (WGEO), the Pharmaceutical Security Institute (PSI) and Europol, with support from the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP) and private sector companies including G2 Web Services, LegitScript, MasterCard, Microsoft,PayPal and Visa.