It’s called Operation Pangea V and it’s aim is to help protect individuals from one of the scourges of the internt – unlicensed internet pharmacies.  Over 4000 of the internet based phramacies have been closed down this week alone and more than 18000 during the course of the the Operation.

The announcement coincided with the 5th International Week of Action – which has aimed to close down the sale and distribution of fake and couterfeit phramacy products.   This has involved over a hundred countries working together to identify both the illegal producers and their distributors.

It might be surprising to some of us that anyone would buy such drugs online, however many are duped into buying by slick web sites, believeable documentation and of course cheaper prices.  There’s no doubt though that taking any drugs bought via the internet without the assistance of a qualified medical practitioner is very dangerous indeed.

Some of the drugs identified during this Operation are not even cleared for use in the US and most other countries.  Even for drugs like Viagra you have know way of knowing if the medicine is even genuine, often counterfeit substances are susbstituted.

The FDA have demonstrated that it is possible to take action against web sites wherever they are hosted.  The remarkable success of this operation will hopefully deter similar sites being created.  One of the biggest partners in Operation Pangea was INTERPOL, the international police agency who enable criminals to be pursued across country borders.

There are a host of resources you can use to see if a pharmacy is unlicensed, one of the best is on the FDA site – here.  This is primarily a US based resource if you have any trouble accessing these due to geotargeting restrictions you can try this USA proxy service to get access by changing your IP address to an American one – here’s the link.  At the time of writing this was not necessary though.