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INTERPOL’s PANGEA Operation: A Global Effort Against Counterfeit Pharmaceuticals

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INTERPOL’s PANGEA Operation is a global effort to combat counterfeit pharmaceuticals. Operation PANGEA XVI involved 89 countries and resulted in the seizure of over 6.5 million euros in illegal drugs, the shutdown of 1,300 websites, 325 ongoing investigations, and 72 arrests, underscoring the importance of international collaboration to safeguard consumer health.

What is INTERPOL’s PANGEA Operation?

INTERPOL’s PANGEA operation is a global effort to combat counterfeit pharmaceuticals. Operation PANGEA XVI, the 13th iteration, involved 89 countries and resulted in the seizure of over 6.5 million euros in illegal drugs, the shutdown of 1,300 websites, 325 ongoing investigations, and 72 arrests. The operation underscores the importance of international collaboration to safeguard consumer health.

In a world where the internet has simplified the means of acquiring goods, including pharmaceuticals, the risk of encountering counterfeit products has escalated. INTERPOL’s PANGEA operation stands as a bulwark against this illegal trade, working to ensure the safety and health of consumers worldwide.

Overview of Operation PANGEA XVI

Beginning on October 3 and concluding on October 10, 2023, Operation PANGEA XVI marked its 13th year of international collaboration. This concerted effort involved 89 INTERPOL member countries, all dedicated to the common goal of identifying and intercepting counterfeit drugs and medical devices that circulate online.

The Scope and Scale of PANGEA XVI

International Collaboration and Coordination

PANGEA XVI brought together various organizations for a focused cause. The operation was co-organized by a number of prominent entities:

  • INTERPOL
  • EUROPOL
  • The World Customs Organization (WCO)
  • The Permanent Forum on Pharmaceutical Crime (PFIPC)
  • The Working Group of European Union Heads of Medicines Agencies (HMA WGEO)
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

These organizations, along with quality control laboratories and private entities, played integral roles in the operation’s success.

Seizures and Arrests

The operation yielded significant results:

  • Over 6.5 million euros worth of illegally traded pharmaceutical products were seized.
  • A total of 1,300 illegal websites faced shutdowns.
  • Ongoing investigations are being conducted on 325 cases.
  • The operation led to the arrest of 72 individuals connected to these criminal activities.

It’s noteworthy that about 19% of the confiscated items were psychotropic substances, highlighting a concerning trend in the drug market.

Cyprus’s Role in Operation PANGEA XVI

The Republic of Cyprus actively participated in this year’s operation, showcasing its commitment to international health and safety standards. Various departments and services were involved:

  • Pharmaceutical Services
  • Customs Department
  • Postal Services Department
  • Department of Health Services
  • Competent Authority for Medical Devices
  • Industry and Technology Service
  • State Laboratory
  • Veterinary Services
  • Cyprus Police

The Cyprus Police took the lead in coordinating the operation locally, which culminated in the seizure of over 5,000 products that violated national regulations.

Impact of PANGEA XVI

INTERPOL Secretary-General J├╝rgen Stock emphasized the danger that counterfeit pharmaceuticals and the misuse of regulated drugs represent. Operation PANGEA XVI was not only about removing hazardous products from circulation but also about disrupting the criminal networks that distribute these counterfeit drugs.

Monitoring and Ongoing Efforts

The operation’s aftermath saw the closure of numerous illicit websites and the prosecution of those responsible for this unlawful trade. The success of PANGEA XVI highlights the effectiveness of international cooperation in combating pharmaceutical crime.

For more detailed information about the operation’s results and its global impact, please refer to INTERPOL’s announcement: [Link to Interpol’s official announcement]


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INTERPOL’s PANGEA Operation is a worldwide effort to fight against counterfeit medicines. During Operation PANGEA XVI, 89 countries worked together and seized over 6.5 million euros worth of illegal drugs. They also shut down 1,300 websites, conducted 325 ongoing investigations, and made 72 arrests. This shows how important it is for countries to collaborate to protect people’s health. The operation aims to stop the sale of fake medicines which can be dangerous. It lasted for a week in October 2023 and involved organizations like INTERPOL, EUROPOL, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Cyprus also participated and seized over 5,000 products that violated national regulations. The success of this operation demonstrates the power of international cooperation in fighting against counterfeit pharmaceuticals.

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