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Security & privacy

Dozens of fake online pharmacies shut down – Here are the red flags

There are a few things that you should never buy online, and this includes medicine from unknown sources. Yet, every year, thousands of internet users open their wallets to suspicious websites, illegal pharmacies and unregistered health providers.

Interpol, the International Criminal Police Organization, recently pounced on thousands of online marketplaces that sold all kinds of illicit products. Many of these posed as pharmacies and were naturally not registered with any authorities.

Not only is it illegal to buy products that are not properly tested or registered in the country, but you put your health at risk by using them. Now dozens of fake online pharmacies have been caught in the act and shut down.

Here’s the backstory

Under Operation Pangea XIV, Interpol managed to take down 113,020 websites from 92 countries. The various raids were conducted with the help of local police and included customs and health regulatory authorities.

As the pandemic raged across the globe, the operation also yielded various COVID-19 medications and tests.

“Fake and unauthorized COVID-19 testing kits accounted for more than half of all medical devices seized during the week of action which resulted in 277 arrests worldwide and the seizure of potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals worth more than $23 million,” Interpol said in a statement.

The organization revealed it seized around 9 million medical devices and illicit pharmaceuticals, including:

  • Hypnotic and sedative medication
  • Erectile dysfunction pills
  • Medical devices (COVID Test kits, masks, syringes, catheters, surgical devices etc.)
  • Analgesics/painkillers.
  • Anabolic steroids
  • Antiseptics and germicides
  • Anti-cancer medication
  • Antimalarials
  • Vitamins

How to spot fake pharmacies

It should go without saying that buying medicine from unauthorized pharmacies can be incredibly dangerous. Interpol has highlighted the following things you can do to spot a bogus pharmacy or fake medical products.

  • Never by medicine from an online marketplace. Only purchase from pharmacies that can give you a certificate of authenticity and are registered with authorities.
  • Only buy prescribed medicine. Not only do you know what you are getting, but you know it is legal as well.
  • Watch out for medicine ads that promise to be a “cure-all.” There is no such thing, and as a result, you could make yourself sicker.

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Keep reading

Amazon wants to be your new online pharmacy – and Prime members can save up to 80%

How to get your pharmaceutical drugs if you can’t go to the pharmacy

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