(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
pharmaceutical fraud unit, the Customs Authority and the Israel Police last
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The pills, which are thought to have active ingredients that may
not be sold without a doctor’s prescription, included medications whose import
to Israel is illegal.
The operation 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 Permanent Forum on
International Pharmaceutical Crime (PFIPC). Forty-five countries are
simultaneously taking part in Pangea 3.
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 to look for 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
pharmaceutical crime unit, noted that many of the pills are sold illegally
through websites without a doctor’s prescription. Previous Pagea 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.