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.