Authorities also seized illegal food, sports supplements, counterfeit COVID vaccines, sanitary products, and medical devices
An operation coordinated by Europol in its global effort to target the trafficking of counterfeit and misused medicines as well as doping substances, has resulted in 59 criminal groups being dismantled.
According to a report issued by the EU law enforcement agency on Monday, December 19, the operation was led by France, Greece, Italy, and Spain, and involved police and customs authorities from 28 countries. Medicines and doping substances worth over €40 million were seized and 349 suspects were also arrested or reported to the judicial authorities by the law enforcement officers.
Authorities said after over 195 investigations, massive amounts of misused, falsified or counterfeit medicines, doping products, and substances were seized. Aside from this, authorities also confiscated illegal food, sports supplements, as well as counterfeit COVID vaccines. Sanitary products and medical devices were also seized in the raids.
“The trade and consumption of medicines not prescribed by medical professionals, or a medical framework continues to pose a social problem, fostering illegal activity”, said a statement by Europol. It further added, “These are manufactured in underground laboratories where criminals work under questionable hygienic circumstances and safety measures, leading to health risks for end consumers”.
The Europol report also said, doping substances and medicines for erectile dysfunction were among the most seized items. Over 1 million counterfeit COVID tests were also seized.
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