INTERPOL-Led Sting Operation Shuts Down Over 9,600 Illegal Internet Pharmacies, Seizes $41 Million in Fake, Dangerous or Unapproved Drugs

PSM’s Member PSI Aids Investigators in Largest Global Operation of its Kind

Washington, D.C. (June 27, 2013) – The Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) applauds INTERPOL and the nearly 100 countries who took part in Operation Pangea VI, the largest global sting operation to date targeting the online sale of illegal prescription medicines. One of PSM’s original member associations, the Pharmaceutical Security Institute, participated in the INTERPOL-led global effort of law enforcement, customs and regulatory authorities by helping to coordinate assistance from private sector companies.

 Pangea VI was conducted from June 18-25. Preliminary results include:

  • Seizure of 9.8 million doses of fake or illegal prescription medicines, worth $41.1 million

  • Over 9,600 websites of fake online pharmacies shut down

  • 522,000 packages inspected by customs agents, resulting in 58,000 being seized

  • 58 arrests worldwide

  • Suspension of illegal pharmacies’ payment capabilities

PSM Treasurer Thomas Kubic released the following statement:

 “Today marks good progress in the sustained effort against illegal online pharmacies and the dangerous ‘medicines’ they sell to unsuspecting patients around the world. There is still much more work to be done, but through the continued collaboration of the international community we are making progress each day. Interpol’s leadership is recognized and appreciated. We’re forcing more of these criminals to shut down for good, and we’re hitting them where it hurts most: their bank accounts.

 “PSM congratulates INTERPOL and all the countries, agencies and companies that helped make Pangea VI an unequivocal success, and looks forward to continued cooperation with our allies both in the U.S. and abroad. By working together to put fake online pharmacies out business and educating the public about the dangers of purchasing from illegal, unapproved sites, we hope to one day eliminate this serious risk to public health altogether.”

In addition to the worldwide achievements of Pangea VI, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also made major contributions right here at home, shutting down 1,677 illegal pharmacy websites. And in a change from prior operations, has now begun to seize these websites and posting warnings to those who may be tempted to use them.  Please click here to read more about the FDA’s role in Pangea VI.