Interpol, FDA Partnership Targets Illegal Web Pharmacies


During Operation Pangea X, the FDA sent 13 warning letters to the operators of 401 websites.

The FDA and Interpol recently teamed up to confiscate and take other action against more than 500 websites that were illegally selling potentially dangerous, unapproved versions of prescription medicines, including opioids, antibiotics, and injectable epinephrine products.

The effort was part of Operation Pangea X, as part of the 10th annual International Internet Week of Action (IIWA), a global cooperative effort led by Interpol, to combat the unlawful sale and distribution of illegal and potentially counterfeit or substandard medical products on the internet. The IIWA ran from Sept. 12 to Sept. 19, 2017.

During Operation Pangea X, the FDA sent 13 warning letters to the operators of 401 websites. The FDA also seized nearly 100 website domain names, such as, and FDA inspectors, in collaboration with other federal agencies, screened packages suspected of containing illegal drug products in Chicago, Miami, and New York during the IIWA, which resulted in nearly 500 parcels being detained for appropriate FDA compliance follow up.

In addition to health risks, illegal online pharmacies can pose other risks to consumers, including credit card fraud, identity theft and computer viruses, according to an FDA press release. The FDA encourages consumers to report suspected criminal activity to the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigation.

The FDA also provides consumers with information to identify an illegal online pharmacy and information on how to buy medicine safely online through BeSafeRx: Know Your Online Pharmacy.


FDA conducts major global operation to protect consumers from potentially dangerous prescription drugs sold online [news release]. Gaithersburg, MD. Accessed September 25, 2017.

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