Police have seized 20 million counterfeit or illegal medical products in cross-border operations in South East Asia, arrested 30 people and closed down more than 100 pharmacies and illicit drug outlets, Interpol said Wednesday.

The operation, dubbed Operation Storm II, was carried out in eight countries — Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam — between July and November last year under the framework of the World Health Organization’s International Medical Products Anti-counterfeiting Task Force.

The seized products included antibiotics, anti-malarial and birth control medicines, anti-tetanus serums, aspirin and erectile dysfunction drugs.

Twelve million of them were fake and the best before date of eight million had either lapsed or the medical drugs had been otherwise altered.

Interpol’s Secretary General Ronald Noble said a Storm network would be set up in South East Asia to organise and improve crackdowns on counterfeit products.

“This collaborative response is all the more important when globalization and modern technology mean that the methods of producing and distributing counterfeit medicines cut across borders and are developing and increasing, thereby posing an increased threat to people’s health and lives.”

Story from the AFP.

Most big operations follow a two or three year cycle, yet part I of Storm went down in November 2008, that’s just 14 months ago 😦

I’m sure more information and pictures from Operation Storm II will surface in the next few days.

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