Over 5,000 illicit medicines seized in global operation

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For the 13th year in a row, Cyprus participated in Operation Pangea XVI, which led to 72 arrests worldwide, the seizure of potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals worth more than $7 million, 325 new investigations and the closure of more than 1,300 criminal websites.

In Cyprus, more than 5,000 products were found to be under various prohibitions and restrictions and were seized.

The annual campaign across 89 countries targets illicit medicines that significantly threaten consumer safety, including counterfeit medicines and medicines diverted from legal and regulated supply chains.

They also represent a major source of income for transnational organised crime groups and support other crime activities.

In joint coordinated operations carried out through on-the-spot inspections based on search warrants on premises, more than 5,000 products were seized.

Globally, erectile dysfunction medications continue to be the most seized medicine, accounting for 22% of seizures during the operation.

Psychotherapeutic agents such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety medicines and stimulants were a close second at 19%, followed by sex hormones and gastrointestinal medicines at 12% respectively, Interpol said.

The operation is co-organised by Interpol, Europol, the World Customs Organisation (WCO), the Permanent Forum on International Pharmaceutical Crime (PFIPC), the European Medicines Agency (HMA WGEO), FDA America, and other private entities.

Operation Pangea XVI in Cyprus was carried out with the participation of the Pharmaceutical Services, the Department of Customs, the Postal Services, Health Services, the Industry and Technology Service, the State Chemical Laboratory and Veterinary Services.

Cyprus Police were also responsible for coordinating the whole operation.