Earlier today police in six European countries seized millions of fake pharmaceutical pills worth an estimated €10m ($13m) as well as cash and luxury cars in raids supported by EU law enforcement agency Europol and judicial cooperation unit Eurojust.
Europol said the operation – which also involved freezing bank accounts containing €7.5m – targeted an “organised crime group behind the supply and online distribution of counterfeit medicines - mainly erectile dysfunction pills - and their money laundering activities.”
European law enforcement organisations have been working towards today’s raid since 2012 when Spanish authorities broke up a gang that was importing fake erectile dysfunction pills from China and Singapore.
That case – which result in the seizure of 300,000 pills and the arrest of six people – also provided intelligence that led to today’s co-ordinated raids in Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, France, Hungary, Slovakia, Spain and the United Kingdom.
According to Europol the criminals targeted in today's raid - 12 of whom were arressted - sold their counterfiet pharmaceutical products online, through illegal pharmacy websites.
Analystrs suggests that such sites are a signifincat source of the counterfeits sold in Europe and around the world.
In 2013, the US National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) surveyed 10,421 online pharmacies and found that only 257 (2.47%) were legitimate, based on their registration details and domain names. The vast majority were deemed to be suspect.