Peddling fake drugs online

Aug , 15  2013

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Counterfeit medicines, estimated to account for 3-6% of the RM4.5 bil Malaysian medicine market, used to be peddled at the pasar malam or roadside stalls. However, unscrupulous purveyors of fake pharmaceuticals have now widened their distribution channel to the Internet, taking advantage of Malaysians’ penchant for online shopping.Since Malaysia started working with Interpol on Operation Pangea in 2012, the Ministry of Health’s Pharmaceutical Services Division (PSD) has identified more than 200 websites (including Malaysian-based ones) selling illegal medicines. Operation Pangea is an annual, Interpol-coordinated, one-week operation to combat the sale of illegal medicines online.In the same period, over 2,000 parcels of medicines suspected to contain illegal substances were confiscated by the ministry.The trend of selling fake medicine online can be deduced from the fact that counterfeit medicines seized by the division’s pharmacy enforcement officers have declined in recent years.