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Global action targeting falsified medicines

From 13 to May 20 2014, nearly 200 enforcement agencies across 111 countries took part in the largest-ever operation targeting falsified medicines, Operation Pangea VII, coordinated by Interpol. This global operation was focused on the three key elements used by the illegal internet trade and the people involved in these activities: the internet infrastructure, the electronic payment systems and services that ensure the delivery of the falsified goods.This operation was primarily intended to inform patients about the dangers of buying medicines over the internet as there is no guarantee of the authenticity and safety. The purchase of medicines over the Internet should only be done via websites of legitimate online pharmacies.

For Belgium, Pangea VII gave following results:
• Belgian customs conducted 23 860 inspections and transferred 226 postal packages to FAMHP, of which 108 packages were confiscated.
• FAMHP intercepted on different Belgian airports 13681 units of counterfeit or illegal medicines, most of which came from India, China (and Hong Kong), Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, USA, Turkey and Ghana.
• 190 advertisements and 134 websites for counterfeit and illegal medicines were removed from the internet.

Worldwide, Pangea VII gave the following results:
• 9,8 million counterfeit drugs or illegal drugs were seized, including anti-cancer medicines, medicines used in the context of malaria prevention, weight loss medicines, cholesterol lowering medicines and medicines used for erectile dysfunction;
• The value of the confiscated goods is estimated at $ 36 million;
• 239 arrests were conducted;
• 1 235 investigations were initiated;
• 19 000 advertisements for illegal pharmaceuticals were removed from social media networks;
• More than 9 000 websites were closed.

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