Seizure of 24,596 illegal medicinal products in one week

At the request of the Dutch Healthcare Inspectorate and the World Customs Organisation, Dutch Customs have seized 99 packages with in total 24,596 potentially dangerous illegal medicinal products within one week.

The countries of origin were in particular China, Hong Kong and India. This action took place in the context of Operation Pangea III, an international campaign against illegal trading in medicinal products via the internet.

In the week of 5 up to and including 12 October, more than 40 countries participated in Operation Pangea III, which was coordinated by Interpol. The international campaign is intended on the one hand to draw attention to the health risks the use of these medicinal products can entail. On the other hand, it was intended to take as many of the potentially dangerous medicinal products as possible out of circulation.

Worldwide, 76 arrests were made last week. In total, 267,855 suspicious packages were inspected by the customs services of the 40 participating countries. This has led to the seizure of 10,916 packages containing more than 1 million pills in all with a total estimated value of more than 2 million euros.

The illegal medicinal products seized were in particular erection pills, slimming medication, sleeping pills, anabolic steroids, antidepressants, painkillers, heart medication, insulin, cholesterol inhibitors, hair growth drugs and anticancer medication.

During the action, not only the import of the medicinal products was checked, but explicit attention was also paid to the routes they had taken and the corresponding flows of money. Assistance was provided to that end by internet providers, companies for electronic payments and mail-order companies all over the world.

More information on the risks of buying medicinal products via the internet is to be found on the website of the Ministry of Public Health, Welfare and Sports.