72 arrested worldwide in Interpol-coordinated strike on illicit medicines

“Counterfeit medicines and the misuse of regulated medication is a significant threat to public safety around the world,” said Jürgen Stock, Interpol Secretary General.

Published - November 02, 2023 02:57 am IST - NEW DELHI

Secretary-General of Interpol Jurgen Stock. File

Secretary-General of Interpol Jurgen Stock. File | Photo Credit: AP

A major Interpol-coordinated crackdown on illicit medicines across 89 countries, including India, has resulted in the arrest of 72 accused persons worldwide and the seizure of potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals worth over $7 million.

The operation has also led to the launch of 325 new investigations and the closure of more than 1,300 criminal websites, according to the Interpol.

“The annual campaign targets illicit medicines that pose a significant threat to consumer safety, including counterfeit medicines and medicines diverted from legal and regulated supply chains. They also represent a major source of income for transnational organised crime groups and support other crime activity,” it said on Tuesday.

Codenamed Operation Pangea XVI, the campaign ran from October 3 to 10. “Erectile dysfunction medications continue to be the most seized medicine globally, accounting for 22% of seizures during the operation. Psychotherapeutic agents such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety medicines and stimulants were a close second at 19%, followed by sex hormones and gastrointestinal medicines at 12 % respectively,” said the Interpol.

“Counterfeit medicines and the misuse of regulated medication is a significant threat to public safety around the world. Operation Pangea XVI removed a large amount of illegal and potentially life-threatening products off the streets and dismantled criminal networks trafficking such goods,” said Jürgen Stock, Interpol Secretary General.

“The operation underlines the continuing need for a coordinated and global response against the threat posed by illicit medicines and transnational organised crime groups,” he said.

During the operation, Europol, the World Customs Organization, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the International Narcotics Control Board, national health regulatory agencies and the Pharmaceutical Security Institute extended additional assistance.

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