An international law-enforcement effort to crack down on the online sale of illegal drugs and medical devices has netted 400 arrests worldwide, and the confiscation of more than $51 million in potentially dangerous medicines, says a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
Authorities from 123 nations were involved in Operation Pangea X, which this year saw a boost in the number of participating African nations, many taking part for the first time.
“The sale of fake or counterfeit pharmaceuticals is a growing concern across Africa, as it creates a dangerous situation for the health of unsuspecting consumers who trust that the products they purchase are safe to use. Global actions such as Operation Pangea X are critical to cutting off the supply of dangerous medicines and apprehending the criminals behind this deadly trade,” according to a statement from the National Central Bureau of INTERPOL in Namibia.
The investigation and roundup targeted Fentanyl, a powerful narcotic that often is distributed illegally and has been linked to thousands of overdose deaths.
One of the thousands of websites shut down even was named “Where to buy Fentanyl without a prescription.”
Officials said a record 25 million “illicit and counterfeit medicines” were seized, a total of nearly 3,600 websites taken offline and thousands of online advertisements for unapproved pharmaceuticals were taken down.
Besides Fentanyl, dietary supplements, painkillers, epilepsy medication, erectile dysfunction pills, anti-psychotic medication and nutritional supplements were taken.
From Jordan, authorities said, a suspect was selling counterfeit contact lenses that could cause serious eye damage. And in Congo, nearly 1,500 pounds of illegal anti-malaria pills were found.
Beginning with just eight countries in 2008, Operation Pangea has grown exponentially during the past 10 years, with police, customs and drug regulatory authorities from 123 countries taking part in 2017.
In addition to interventions on the ground, including the seizure of 1.2 tons of erectile dysfunction pills in Vietnam, the investigation also targeted the online trade, rogue domain name registrars, electronic payment systems and delivery services operating illegally to supply drugs.