Police said on Friday they had confiscated 600,000 unauthorised or fake Covid rapid tests and suspended their use, as part of a worldwide Interpol-led operation targeting the sale of counterfeit and illicit medicines and medical products.
The Pangea XIV operation, carried out between May 18 and May 25, involved police, customs and health regulatory authorities from 92 countries. Fake and unauthorised Covid-19 tests accounted for more than half of all medical devices seized during that week, Interpol wrote on their website, resulting in 277 arrests worldwide.
In total, more than 9,000,000 drugs, estimated at about €19,000,000, were seized worldwide and 113,020 illegal websites were identified and deleted, while 277 people were arrested.
In Cyprus, some 700,000 counterfeit or unlicensed products were confiscated, with the majority being, apart from the rapid tests, local anaesthetics, antipsychotics, drugs for treating erectile dysfunction, police said.
During that week, authorities in Cyprus checked 7,000 packages arriving at the various district post offices and Larnaca port and organised a number of campaigns with members from the Office for Combating Intellectual Property Theft and Illegal Gambling, cybercrime department, the customs department, pharmaceutical services and the Department of Works and Development of Medical Supplies and Medical Equipment of Medical Services and Public Health.
The operations led to the confiscation of 95 pharmaceuticals, 1,719 unapproved pills and 3,813 pharmaceutical products (laughing gas) which fall under the category of controlled substances.
A number of orthopaedic products found in Nicosia stores that did not meet the standards of the European Union were also withdrawn from the market, the announcement said.