The international police service Interpol has taken ‘thousands’ of fake pharmacy webshops offline, according to the organization a record number. Criminals are increasingly misusing the pandemic by, for example, selling fake mouth masks and corona tests, the organization says.
Interpol took 113,020 URLs from online marketplaces, among other things, offline during an operation, a record number since it started such operations in 2008. This concerns, for example, websites of a man in Venezuela who sold fake medicines via WhatsApp, or sites that sold three million fake medicines and fake health devices in the United Kingdom.
The operation lasted from May 18 to 25 and showed that criminals are still taking advantage of the pandemic, according to Interpol. For example, fake and unapproved corona test kits accounted for more than half of all seized medical devices. In total, 277 people were arrested for selling fake medical devices online and more than €18.9 million worth of fake medicines were seized.
The International Police Organization writes that while some buyers knew they were buying counterfeit drugs, most did not and potentially put their lives on the line. The operation was called Operation Pangea. This is the fourteenth Operation Pangea since 2008.