In 2019, operation Pangea took on a new form. This operation focused on information collection, analysis and communication. For this twelfth edition, that took place from June 2018 to June 2019, the FAMHP provided the necessary data. Pangea is coordinated by INTERPOL and is specifically designed to intercept illegal and counterfeit medicinal products and devices.
2019 did not see an international Pangea action week, because of the new strategy that was put in place because over the past years, the action week had become too predictable. Operation Pangea XII aimed at collecting and analysing data over the course of one year to raise awareness and to prepare the upcoming operation Pangea XIII in 2020. In Belgium, operation Pangea XII enabled the inspection of 50,000 packages between June 2018 and June 2019. 5,360 of these were seized, or around 500,000 tablets, tubes, bottles, etc., of illegal or counterfeit products. These seizures led to the establishment of over 140 doping related dossiers for products such as anabolic steroids.
Most seized products were stimulants for erectile dysfunction, steroids, sleeping pills and pain killers.
In Belgium, online medicinal product sales are licensed exclusively to legal websites of pharmacies recognised by the FAMHP. This is intended to protect public health and prevent the sale of illegal or counterfeit medicinal products. Quality, efficacy and safety of medicinal products purchased on illegal websites are never guaranteed.
The most common countries of origin of seized packages were Singapore, India and the United States.
Pangea: over ten years of international collaboration
Operation Pangea is an international collaboration carried out simultaneously by 293 authorities in over 120 countries since 2008. The purpose of this operation is to combat the illegal sale and counterfeiting of medicinal products and the counterfeiting of medical instruments. In doing so, the operation aims to control the organised crime associated with this trade. Every year, operation Pangea enables achievements such as closing down websites that sell these products, disrupting the electronic payment flows related to this trade and intercepting products sent by courier companies and postal services at border crossings.
The operation is also intended to raise awareness of dangers associated with purchasing medicinal products online. Find out more at www.medicaments-par-internet.be