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Pangea VI International Enforcement Operation Shuts Down 9,600 Fake Online Pharmacies

Interpol-coordinated
global operation targeted fake online pharmacy trade, netted over $41 million
worth of counterfeit medication, and shut down more than 9,600 fake online
pharmacies.  Fake versions of drugs used
to treat diabetes symptoms, arthritis, and schizophrenia were seized as part of
the operation.  58 arrests have been
made.

On June 27, 2013, Interpol announced the results of its 6th
annual action against fake online pharmacies. 
With the help of enforcement agencies from 100 different countries,
Operation Pangea VI was able to shut down close to 10,000 fake online
pharmacies and interrupt the business operations of drug counterfeiters
globally.

Interpol describes Operation Pangea as “an international
week of action tackling the online sale of counterfeit and illicit medicines
and highlighting the dangers of buying medicines online. Coordinated by
INTERPOL, the annual operation brings together customs, health regulators,
national police and the private sector from countries around the world.”

Operation Pangea was first staged by Interpol in November
2008, and has been conducted annually since then.  The first Pangea week of action included just
10 participating countries, but participation has grown exponentially to the
100 countries participating in this year’s effort.  Operation Pangea is aimed specifically at fake
online pharmacy businesses and targets the three main components that allow
these fake online pharmacies to conduct business: their Internet Service
Provider (ISP), their payment systems and the delivery service they use.

In the United States, Operation Pangea was conducted by the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations, in
coordination with the United States Attorney's Office for the District of
Colorado. Their efforts shut down 1,677 illegal pharmacy websites, many of whom
posed as either Canadian pharmacies or outlets of genuine pharmacy
businesses.  The FDA reports that, “Many
of these websites appeared to be operating as a part of an organized criminal
network that falsely purported its websites to be ‘Canadian Pharmacies.’ These
websites displayed fake licenses and certifications to convince U.S. consumers
to purchase drugs they advertised as ‘brand name’ and ‘FDA approved.’ The drugs
received as part of Operation Pangea were not from Canada, and were neither
brand name nor FDA approved. These websites also used certain major U.S.
pharmacy retailer names to trick U.S. consumers into believing an affiliation
existed with these retailers.”

John Roth, director of the FDA’s Office of Criminal
Investigations remarked at the conclusion of Operation Pangea that “Illegal
online pharmacies put American consumers’ health at risk by selling potentially
dangerous products. This is an ongoing battle in the United States and abroad,
and the FDA will continue its criminal law enforcement and regulatory efforts.   The agency is pleased to participate in
Operation Pangea to protect consumers and strengthen relationships with
international partners who join in this fight.”

Director Roth will be joining our speakers at this year’s
Interchange 2013.  Register today!

 

 

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