This year’s Operation PANGEA – an international effort to disrupt the online sale of fake and unlicensed health products around the world – took place from October 9 to 16, 2018. Starting with just eight countries in 2008, the operation has grown to 116 countries that participated this year.
These are the numbers published by Interpol:
- Operation PANGEA XI resulted in 859 arrests worldwide and the seizure of USD 14 million worth of potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals.
- Focusing on delivery services manipulated by organized criminal networks, the operation saw 3,671 web links closed down, including websites, social media pages, and online marketplaces.
- Almost one million packages were inspected during the week of action with 500 tonnes of illicit pharmaceuticals seized worldwide.
- More than 110,000 medical devices including syringes, contact lenses, hearing aids and surgical instruments were also seized.
According to Jürgen Stock, Interpol, PANGEA is showing its long-term success: “While more packages were seized this year than in previous Pangea operations, the number of medicines seized was lower. This is a sign that the operations are achieving their goals. The actions of the police, customs, and health regulatory agencies working together have forced the criminals operating illicit online pharmacies to change their modus operandi. Criminals are now shipping packages containing smaller numbers of pills and tablets to try and avoid the more stringent checks which have become routine in many countries as a result of the Pangea operations. However, this year’s results again show the successes achieved globally in stopping potentially lethal products from reaching unsuspecting customers.”