WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Partnership for Safe Medicines, a public health group committed to the safety of pharmaceutical medicines, applauds the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) for organizing the seizure of more than $11 million worth of counterfeit medicines during Operation Pangea XV, an initiative to combat the global trafficking of counterfeit pharmaceuticals marketed and sold online. During the annual week-long operation, law enforcement officers from 94 countries deployed to investigate and shut down websites selling illicit medical products.
“It is encouraging to see the hard work of our law enforcement officials paying off in another successful Pangea operation,” said Tom Kubic, Chairman of the Board and President of the Partnership for Safe Medicines. “This work is more important than ever. As PSM continues to monitor the counterfeit pill crisis in the US and online, we have followed deaths from fake pills sold on social media in 21 states.
The work of INTERPOL member countries and participating law enforcement officers, including the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Intellectual Property Rights and Commercial Fraud Center (ICE-IPR), plays a critical role in investigating, l inspection and seizure of illicit drugs and health products. Together, they support INTERPOL’s mandate to make the world safer.
This year, the operation has made 7,800 seizures of illegal and mislabeled medicines, including more than 317,000 counterfeit COVID-19 test kits, dangerous pre-filled syringes, counterfeit antibiotic pills and more. Of the packages searched by law enforcement, 48% contained illegal or counterfeit drugs; at least 36 organized crime groups were behind these illegal products; and over 1,200 advertisements were found across all major social media platforms and messaging apps selling counterfeit and illegal drugs.
“While these numbers are shocking, they’re not entirely surprising given similar trends we’ve seen in the United States,” Kubic said. “Drug traffickers continue to operate online and on social media platforms, selling adulterated, substandard and counterfeit drugs that can have deadly consequences. Law enforcement is unfortunately already overwhelmed by this problem and deserves all the resources we can devote to it.
The Partnership for Safe Medicines is committed to working with law enforcement, policy makers and families who have lost loved ones to counterfeit medicines to ensure resources are available to fight this crisis and that our American policies protect Americans.
About the Partnership for Safe Medicines
The Partnership for Drug Safety (PSM) is a public health group of nonprofit organizations that handle drugs from factory to patient and are committed to prescription drug safety. To learn more, visit www.safemedicines.org.