[Lyon] Interpol seized counterfeit drugs worth US$7 million in September in an operation encompassing 13 Asian countries, the international police organisation said on Monday.
Medication including antibiotics, anti-hypertension pills and even rabies vaccines were taken from hundreds of pharmacies and markets, including dozens of online pharmacies, as Interpol attempts to curb the widespread sale of fake drugs being produced in the region.
Interpol said in a statement they had arrested 87 individuals in the course of the crackdown, which "brought together law enforcement and drug regulatory agencies to target the organised criminal networks behind pharmaceutical crime in Asia".
"Operation Storm VI demonstrated the sophistication and determination of criminal groups engaged in pharmaceutical crime, creating dangers to public health and the safety of the population," said Aline Plancon, Head of Interpol's Global Health and Safety unit.
Participating countries included Afghanistan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
The World Health Organisation has said the traffic of fake medication mostly affects Asia, Latin America and especially Africa, where "systems of pharmaceutical regulation and of checks on their application are the weakest".