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 toda

Source: Partnership For Safe Medicine

5 thoughts on “News

  1. SFA Reporter says:

    Pangea V

    Dates: 25 September – 2 October 2012

    Participating countries: 100 in total


    3.75 million illicit and counterfeit pills confiscated;
    Estimated value: USD 10.5 million;
    More than 18,000 websites shut down;
    Some 133,000 packages inspected by regulators and customs authorities, of which around 6,700 were confiscated;
    Some 80 individuals are currently under investigation or under arrest for a range of offences, including operating a clandestine laboratory producing counterfeit medicines; membership of a criminal group selling illicit medicine online; and operating websites selling illicit medicines

    Pangea V media release (4 October 2012)

  2. SFA Reporter says:

    Pangea IV

    Dates: 20 – 27 September 2011

    Participating countries: 81 in total


    2.4 million illicit and counterfeit pills confiscated;
    Estimated value: USD 6.3 million;
    Almost 13,500 websites shut down;
    Some 45,500 packages inspected by regulators and customs authorities, of which almost 8,000 were seized;
    Some 55 individuals are currently under investigation or under arrest for a range of offences, including illegally manufacturing, selling and supplying unlicensed or prescription-only medicines.

     Pangea IV media release (29 September 2011)

  3. SFA Reporter says:

    Pangea III

    Dates: 5 – 12 October 2010

    Participating countries: (44 in total) Angola, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, China (+ Hong Kong, China), Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovak Republic, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, United Kingdom, Uruguay and the United States of America.


    87 individuals arrested/under investigation;
    102 search warrants executed;
    More than 2 million pills seized;
    297 websites taken down;
    Estimated value: USD 6.77 million;
    More than 1,000 police messages exchanged;
    350 checks carried out in INTERPOL’s databases.

     Pangea III media release (14 October 2010)

  4. SFA Reporter says:

    Pangea II

    Dates: 16-20 November 2009

    Participating countries: (25 in total) Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Lichtenstein, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, United Kingdom and United States of America.


    Identification of more than 1,200 websites engaged in illegal activity including the sale of suspected counterfeit medicines as well as controlled or prescription-only drugs;
    237 other websites closely investigated and 153 of them shut down;
    17 adverts promoting medicines on auction websites removed;
    A total of 59 suspects identified. At least 12 of them were arrested and the others investigated for a range of offences related to the illegal sale of pharmaceutical products.

     Pangea II media release (19 November 2009)

  5. SFA Reporter says:

    Pangea I

    Date: 12 November 2008

    Participating countries: (10 in total) Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States of America.


    Commercial websites taken down;
    Postal depots monitored and parcels examined; packages containing suspected counterfeit medicines intercepted;
    Thousands of suspected counterfeit erectile dysfunction drugs and other medicines seized or identified and withdrawn from circulation;
    Consumer awareness raised via global press coverage.

    Pangea I was organized by the Permanent Forum on International Pharmaceutical Crime (PFIPC) and supported by INTERPOL.

     Pangea I media release (13 November 2008)

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