Int'l campaign leads to seizure of 14,000 illegal pills

Health Ministry unit examines packages across the country in search of counterfeit pills as part of Pangea 3 campaign.

October 17, 2010 15:27
1 minute read.
Counterfeit pills smuggled into Israel.

smuggled pills_311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

More than 14,000 pills suspected of being counterfeit anabolic steroid, erectile dysfunction and diet medications were seized by the Health Ministry’s unit against pharmaceutical fraud, the Customs Authority and the Israel Police last week.

The pills are thought to have active ingredients that may not be sold without a doctor’s prescription, also in the seized batch were medications whose import to Israel is illegal. The effort was part of an international campaign called Pangea 3 to prevent drug smuggling of counterfeit and illegal drugs that includes the World Health Organization, Interpol and the world organization for the struggle against pharmaceutical crime (PFIPC). Forty-five countries are simultaneously taking part in Pangea 3.

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Tens of thousands of mailed packages were examined in the customs offices in Tel Aviv, Eilat, Haifa and Jerusalem and at the Allenby Bridge crossing in search of illegal pills. Most of those that were seized were sent from China and India. Those caught at the Israel-Jordan border were meant for smuggling into the Palestinian Authority and Israel.

Mickey Arieli, head of the Health Ministry’s unit against pharmaceutical crime, noted that many of the pills are sold illegally through websites without a doctor’s prescription. Previous Pangea operations around the world brought about the seizure of hundreds of thousands of illegal pills and the closure of a number of illegal Internet sites.

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