Worldwide operation against fake and illegal medicines purchased from internet


Australian agencies took part in an international crackdown on fake and illegal medicines purchased over the internet. This was joint action coordinated between various organisations across the glob. Australian agencies that participated included Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS), the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA)

Every year, Interpol and World Customs Organisation bring together customs, health regulators, national police and private sector agencies from over 100 countries in Operation Pangea. Aim of this exercise is to disrupt the organised crime networks behind the online trade of fake and illicit medicines. In Australia the same was organised in the international mail and air cargo environments in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.

As a result 80 packages were seized in Australia. Packages contained counterfeit erectile dysfunction products and unregistered domestic pet medications. ACBPS A/g Deputy Commander Strategic Border Command, Erin Dale warned consumers to be careful about online purchases. Consumers need to be careful when purchasing therapeutic goods online. It can be illegal and dangerous. This can also be dangerous for the health of buyers, their children and their pets.

According to Professor John Skerritt, head of TGA, consumers need to be aware of the risks of buying medicines online from unknown sources. The medicines may be cheaper, but these products may be counterfeit. Most of the website does not require a prescription for a medicine which is required elsewhere. Not only quality is not guaranteed the products may contain dangerous substances.

APVMA CEO Kareena Arthy explained the risks of illicit medicines on pets. Websites sell pet medicines which have not been scientifically assessed by the APVMA. This can cause serious suffering and harm to their pets. It has to be noted that all agricultural and veterinary chemical products registered in Australia have the words APVMA or NRA followed by a registration number printed on the label. By searching the APVMA chemicals database people can check the registration number and other details.