A total of 2,600 websites offering dangerous drugs were blocked while unregistered medicines worth over RM2.2 million were confiscated in a nationwide Pangea XIV Operation from May 18 to 25.
The operation involved personnel from the Health Ministry (MOH), National Central Bureau/Interpol Malaysia, Customs Department, Communications and Multimedia Commission, Pos Malaysia and CyberSecurity Malaysia.
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said this year’s operation was focused on the sale of medicines and medical devices on websites and social media, as there were irresponsible sellers taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic situation to make a profit.
“This is evident as many controlled medicines purportedly for the treatment of COVID-19, face masks, thermometers, gloves, surgical gowns, COVID-19 test kits, nasal aspirators and alcohols swab are being sold online.
“Also, there is a rising trend in the sale of psychotropic substance by unauthorised sellers on the same platforms,” he said in a statement today.
Elaborating on Ops Pangea XIV, Dr Noor Hisham said a total of 972 postal parcels were also inspected, 157 of which were found to contain 9,115 units of unregistered pharmaceutical products worth RM108,352.
“Compared to last year’s operation, over 60 per cent of products seized this year were controlled medicines under the Poisons Act 1952 while 18 per cent of these controlled medicines were under the psychotropic substance category.
“The rest are high blood pressure and diabetes medications, abortion pills, anti-inflammatory drugs and others that are not registered with the MOH,” he said.
Dr Noor Hisham added that inspections were also carried out at all entry points nationwide, involving air cargo, airports, border posts and ferry terminals, with 961 units of unregistered medicines worth RM42,213 seized.
He said the team also conducted targeted raids on sellers and business premises involved in online selling activities and seized 61,864 units of illegal pharmaceutical products worth RM2,071,855, as well as digital devices used to market the products such as laptops and mobile phones.
Meanwhile, he said a total of 206 awareness campaigns were also held during the Ops Pangea XIV period including on social media and at community pharmacies.
Dr Noor Hisham said the ministry was still monitoring the websites and social media accounts and intensifying its enforcement activities in order to address the sale of pharmaceutical products and medical devices online although the operation has ended.
He advised the public to ensure that health products sold online or at premises have the hologram security labels and product registration numbers before proceeding to make the purchase.
They can also check the product’s registration status at the ‘Product Status’ column at http://www.npra.gov.my or download the NPRA Product Status application from Google Play Store, Apple App Store or Huawei AppGallery.– BERNAMA