Interpol seizes illicit drugs in African campaign

Operation GiboiaThe largest Interpol operation to date against pharmaceutical crime across Southern Africa has resulted in the seizure of almost 100 tonnes of illicit and counterfeit medicines, with 181 suspects arrested or placed under investigation.
Operation Giboia saw more than 900 officers from the five participating countries - Angola, Malawi, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zambia - take part in some 550 coordinated raids and inspections of marketplaces, pharmacies and clinics, as well as illicit care centres and outlets, in around 30 cities and border points.
The seized illicit and counterfeit medicines, both branded and generic, are estimated to be worth approximately $3.5m, said Interpol in a press statement. The seized products included illicit and counterfeit versions of antibiotics, birth control, anti-malarial and analgesic medicines. Diverted and expired medical products were also identified.
The key objectives of Operation Giboia were to identify, investigate and disrupt criminal networks involved in pharmaceutical crime, and to raise public awareness of the risks of fake medicines and other related pharmaceutical crimes.
"The huge extent of pharmaceutical crime in Southern Africa, and the threat to public security and safety it represents to the region and the continent, has been exposed by Operation Giboia"” said Aline Plançon, head of Interpol's Medical Product Counterfeiting and Pharmaceutical Crime (MPCPC) unit.
"The preliminary results of this operation against pharmaceutical crime were down to a combined effort involving the participating countries and agencies sharing and exchanging information, with the support of Interpol, against organised crime networks benefiting from this lucrative crime," she added.
A least nine outlets unauthorized to sale medicines were closed across the five participating countries, while two illegal clinics employing unqualified staff were closed in Malawi.

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