The results of a major crackdown targeting illegitimate trade in medicines via online pharmacies worldwide, in which Cyprus participated, were announced on Wednesday.
More than 5,000 pharmaceutical products were seized in coordinated operations and spot checks at premises on the island, according to a police report.
It is the thirteenth consecutive year Cyprus participated in the crackdown operation dubbed ‘Pangea XVI’ which took place from October 3-10. The global operation to seize fake and illicit medicines and medical devices was carried out simultaneously in 89 Interpol member states.
Under police cooperation a wide swath of local agencies, including the departments of health, pharmaceutical services, medical technology, the state labs, customs and the veterinary and postal services were involved.
The operation was jointly organised by Interpol, Europol, the world customs organisation (WCO), the global forum on pharmaceutical crime (PFIPC), groups from the European Medicines Agency (HMS, WGEO) the US FDA, quality control laboratories and others.
During the wider global operation €6.5 million worth of products were confiscated and 1,300 illegal websites were identified and shut down. The investigation of 325 cases is ongoing, while 72 people were arrested for related offences. A large proportion of the drugs seized, 19 per cent, were psychiatric medications.