International sting leads to 121 arrests for counterfeit virus treatments

Credit: Interpol via Storyful

Law enforcement authorities from 90 countries have taken part in coordinated action against the illicit online sale of medicines and medical products during the coronavirus outbreak, Interpol has revealed.

Counterfeit face masks, substandard hand sanitizer, and unauthorized antiviral medication were all seized under Operation Pangea XIII.

Interpol said 121 arrests were made worldwide, with the seizure of potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals worth over $14 million.

“The seizure of more than 34,000 counterfeit and substandard masks, ‘corona spray’, ‘coronavirus packages’ or ‘coronavirus medicine’ reveals only the tip of the iceberg regarding this new trend in counterfeiting.”

“Law enforcement agencies taking part in Operation Pangea found 2,000 online links advertising items related to COVID-19. Of these, counterfeit surgical masks were the medical device most commonly sold online, accounting for around 600 cases during the week of action,” Interpol said in a statement.

Credit: Interpol via Storyful

“The seizure of more than 34,000 counterfeit and substandard masks, ‘corona spray’, ‘coronavirus packages’ or ‘coronavirus medicine’ reveals only the tip of the iceberg regarding this new trend in counterfeiting.”

Interpol said the operation had resulted in more than 2,500 web links, including websites, online market places, and social media pages, being closed down, with a similar number in the process of being taken down.
 

Credit: Interpol via Storyful

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