News about GMP/cGMP


"Operation PANGEA X": 10th and largest operation against illicit online pharmacies

Between 12 and 19 September 2017, authorities around the world targeted the illicit online sale of medicines and medical devices. More than 123 countries took part in Operation PANGEA X which led to a record number of 25 million illicit and counterfeit medicines seized worldwide.

Focusing on the sale of illicit medical devices, devices worth an estimated USD 500,000 were recovered. Another hot topic this year was the illicit trade with opioid painkillers, in particular, the drug “Fentanyl”. The drug has been linked to thousands of overdoses and deaths worldwide.

What has been achieved through PANGEA X so far?

  • 3584 illegal websites were closed, 1058 investigations initiated and 3000 online displays were deleted
  • 715000 postal deliveries were inspected, 470000 of which were confiscated
  • Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo confiscated nearly 650 kg of illicit anti-malaria pills
  • Counterfeit contact lenses were discovered for sale in Jordan following complaints from customers, and authorities warned the fake lenses could cause serious eye damage.
  • 1.2 tonnes of potency drugs were seized in Vietnam
  • Rogue domain name registrars, electronic payment systems and delivery services were targeted.
  • Social media sites illegally advertising or selling illicit medicines were shut down.
  • In Germany 961 foreign mailings containing around 70000 pills, capsules or ampules were confiscated.
  • In Switzerland almost 500 packages containing medicinal products were checked. This resulted in confiscating 56 packages with especially harmful medicines.

Those numbers are really alarming. “The fact that we still see such strong outcomes after 10 years of Pangea operations demonstrates how the online sale of illicit medicines is an ongoing, and ever increasing, challenge for law enforcement and regulatory authorities,” says Tim Morris, Interpol’s Executive Director of Police Services.

In addition to disrupting the criminal networks involved in the sale of illicit and counterfeit medicines, Operation Pangea X also aimed to raise public awareness of the potential dangers associated with buying pharmaceuticals online. An increasing consumer demand worldwide for all types of drugs makes this goal at least equally important.


Interpol: News and media