(photo credit: INGIMAGE / ASAP)
Some 9,000 “counterfeit” pharmaceutical pills, powders and bottles were seized last week by the Customs Authority and the Health Ministry’s enforcement and supervision branch, as part of Interpol’s Operation Pangea.
The enforcement campaign is aimed at protecting the public from sub-standard and dangerous goods – their import, export and trade.
The drugs suspected of being fake include drugs for erectile dysfunction, diet pills and supplements that were suspected of including active pharmaceutical ingredients, metabolites, prescription-only pills and anabolic steroids.
As part of the operation, hundreds of parcels sent by sea, air and land were examined at all customs houses and border crossings, using sophisticated means of discovery such as the customs' profiling system. Packages identified as suspicious were delayed and transferred to pharmacists working with the customs workers at the ministry’s inspection sites.
The examination revealed that dozens of packages contained drugs suspected of being fake. Most of the seized packages were sent from China, India, Thailand, Portugal and Russia.
The Pangea operation, sponsored jointly by the World Customs Organization, World Health Organization and Interpol, was held for the first time in 2008, with eight countries, including Israel, participating.
Since then, there have been nine more campaigns in which the number of participating countries increased to some 100. The main purpose of the campaign is to prevent the stolen and smuggled drugs, which pose a real threat to public health and raise public awareness about the dangers involved in purchasing these products.