More than 37,000 pills including diet supplements, erectile dysfunction medication and steroids have been seized in Melbourne and Brisbane in a crackdown on fake and illegal medicines purchased online.
The haul, valued at more than $147,000, was intercepted as a result of a week-long international effort across more than 80 countries that included Australia’s Customs and Border Protection and the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
Most of the substances were slimming and diet supplements and erectile dysfunction medication, Customs said in a statement on Friday.
Antibiotics, steroids and illegal substances marketed as legal highs were also seized.
Co-ordinated by Interpol and The World Customs Organisation, Operation Pangea V ran from September 25 to October 2.
Customs and Border Protection spokesman Anthony Seebach said consumers needed to be careful when purchasing therapeutic goods online.
‘This collaborative effort has prevented thousands of potentially dangerous pills from reaching our community and should raise awareness of the dangers associated with buying medicines online,’ Mr Seebach said.
He said some of the seizures had led to further investigations.
‘Consumers need to be careful they are not inadvertently breaking the law, wasting their money or damaging their health,’ Mr Seebach said.
‘Many products available online are manufactured in unregulated and unsanitary conditions.’
In addition to seizing counterfeit and illegal products ordered over the internet, the TGA has also worked with a Brisbane-based domain name registrar to remove more than 120 overseas websites offering suspect medicines over the internet.