Thousands of dangerous medicines seized as part of global operation

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Monday, October 29th, 2018

Tens of thousands of illegally imported and unauthorised medicines have been seized in Northern Ireland as part of an international operation.

During Operation Pangea XI, multiple packages containing some 60,000 tablets destined for addresses throughout Northern Ireland were intercepted.



They included diazepam, pregabalin and zopiclone.

Operation Pangea XI took place between 9 – 16 October 2018 and involved 116 countries, acting together to safeguard public health.

The Operation aimed to disrupt the illicit online supply of medicines as well as raising awareness of the significant health risks associated with buying medicines from illegal websites and social media platforms.

INTERPOL coordinated the operation with support from the World Customs Organization (WCO), the Permanent Forum of International Pharmaceutical Crime (PFIPC), the Heads of Medicines Agencies Working Group of Enforcement Officers (WGEO), Europol, the Pharmaceutical Security Institute (PSI), as well as Twitter, Facebook and payment card companies.



Anthony Harbinson, Director, Safer Communities at the Department of Justice, and Chair of the Organised Crime Taskforce (OCTF) Strategy Group welcomed the ongoing co-operation that exists between law enforcement bodies and partner agencies, including Department of Health.

He said, “I am delighted with the results announced today. Working together we can help safeguard public health and bring to justice the criminals preying on peoples’ vulnerabilities and ill-health.”

Speaking about the operation, Detective Superintendent Bobby Singleton, Chair of the OCTF Drug Sub Group said, “Operation Pangea is a really powerful example of effective collaboration at local, national and international level between the various stakeholders working to restrict the supply of counterfeit and unlawful prescription drugs whilst developing harm reduction strategies to keep people safe.  



“The searches are typical of our year round activity but the misuse of prescription drugs and the deaths that result from it cannot be solved by policing alone. We’ll continue to work with our law enforcement partners to prevent the importation and supply of illicit and counterfeit drugs by proactively investigating the Organised Crime Groups who supply them but the continued partnership working with the broadest range of stakeholders in government and communities is key to preventing drug misuse and keeping people safe.”

Interpol have reported that 500 tonnes of illicit pharmaceuticals have been seized world-wide during the Operation.




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