87 percent of inspected packages seized or refused due to suspected counterfeit and/or unlicensed health products in week-long international operation

October 23, 2018
Ottawa, Ontario

News release

From October 9-16, 2018, Canada seized or refused over 3,000 packages of suspected counterfeit and/or unlicensed health products, such as illegal prescription drugs, as part of Operation Pangea XI, an international operation targeting illicit online pharmaceutical networks.

In Canada, Operation Pangea is a joint effort between the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Health Canada and INTERPOL Ottawa.

Globally, Operation Pangea XI resulted in 859 arrests and the seizure of almost USD $14 million worth of potentially dangerous medicines. The operation led to over 10 million illicit and counterfeit medicines seized worldwide. The action triggered the launch of 838 investigations, the monitoring of more than 16,000 web links for illicit pharmaceuticals and 3,671 web links taken offline.

In Canada, inspections at border centres resulted in the assessment of 3,586 packages. Of those inspected, 87% were either seized or refused because they contained counterfeit and/or unlicensed health products, such as illegal prescription drugs. The street value of the total amount seized and refused is estimated to be approximately CAD 1.4 million.

Products confiscated this year included illicit erectile dysfunction medication as well as health products for gastrointestinal and prostate support. The majority of products seized (50%) were sexual enhancement products (primarily erectile dysfunction medications) that were either fake or unauthorized.


"Every year, Operation Pangea is an opportunity to inform the public about the risks and dangers of purchasing medicines online. By partnering with INTERPOL, CBSA and Health Canada, we hope to stop the selling of illicit medicines by reducing the supply and demand of counterfeit pharmaceuticals through education and awareness."

– RCMP Deputy Commissioner Gilles Michaud

"It's important to be careful if you buy drugs or health products online. Operation Pangea's results show the dangers of fake and unauthorized health products, and demonstrate how widely available these products are. Operation Pangea highlights the collaboration that happens all year round between law enforcement, border officers and health officials to help keep Canadians safe."

– The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health

Quick Facts

  • Starting with just eight countries in 2008, Operation Pangea has grown during the past 11 years, with police, customs and drug regulatory authorities from over 100 countries taking part in 2018, seizing 14 million illicit and counterfeit medicines
  • Canadians who buy counterfeit and unlicensed medicines online not only put their health and lives in danger, but also increase the risk of becoming victims of credit card fraud, identity theft, and malware viruses
  • Canadians are strongly encouraged to be vigilant when purchasing pharmaceuticals via the Internet. They are reminded to only buy from legitimate online pharmacies and to share any information on suspected illicit activity with their local police

Associated Links


Contact information

RCMP Media Relations

Canada Border Services Agency Media Relations
613-957-6500 or 1-877-761-5945

Health Canada Media Relations

INTERPOL Press Office


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