Brian A Jackson /
22 September 2015Africa

150 tonnes of counterfeit medicine seized in Africa

More than 150 tonnes of counterfeit medicine have been seized in southern Africa.

The seizures were made as part of Operation Giboia II, organised by international police organisation Interpol.

The operation,  the results of which Interpol revealed on Friday, September 18, saw more than 2,000 police, and regulatory and customs officials conduct raids across seven African countries: Angola, Malawi, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

In total, the counterfeits, which ripped off both branded and generic medicines, had an estimated value of $3.5 million.

Markets, warehouses, pharmacies and clinics believed to selling counterfeit medicines were also targeted.

In total, 20 pharmacies across 50 cities were shut down and three manufacturing facilities were busted in South Africa alone.

The operation also saw 550 arrested for offences including counterfeiting and enaging in illegal medical practices.

Tim Morris, Interpol’s executive director of police services, said that pharma-related crime is “widespread” across southern Africa.

“Operation Gibioa II has demonstrated that the only effective way to combat the organised crime networks involved in pharmaceutical crime is through a coordinated response engaging law enforcement,” he added.

The raids were carried out from August 19 to 21.

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