At INTERPOL, we promote concrete law enforcement actions in the field with the ultimate aim of protecting the public from sub-standard and dangerous goods.  We offer an 'interventions package' to support all stages of an investigation from gathering intelligence, planning and implementing an operation, through to legal issues for cases that are brought to court.

On-the-ground operations are run on a national and regional level in order to disrupt transnational criminal networks involved in pharmaceutical crime. Directed at both physical outlets and Internet suppliers, these are multi-agency efforts supported by key scientific partners.

Our flagship operations – Storm (Southeast Asia), Mamba (Eastern Africa) and Pangea (targeting the Internet) – continue to go from strength to strength. Successive raids on licit and illicit markets have shown improved results in terms of seizures, arrests, convictions and the closure of illicit websites.

These operations both highlight the success of multidisciplinary enforcement action and confirm the crucial need for continued intervention in this area. 

Operation Cobra

More than 10 tons of illicit medicines were seized during Operation Cobra in Western Africa.

Cobra is a multi-country operation for Western Africa. It aims to identify, investigate and disrupt networks involved in pharmaceutical crime such as counterfeiting, illicit production and unauthorized sales of medicines.

Cobra 2011

Dates: 26 September – 2 October 2011

Participating countries: (seven in total) Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo


  • Seizure of 170 tonnes, and almost 200 packages and 5,500 boxes of medicines;
  • More than 300 different medical products seized;
  • Outlets unauthorized to sell pharmaceutical products closed down;
  • More than 100 individuals arrested, including unlicensed street sellers, unlicensed dealers and suppliers.

 Cobra 2011 news story (7 October 2011)

Operation Pangea: Aline Plançon, INTERPOL Pharmaceutical Crime unit

Operation Pangea: Kerry Mannion, US Food and Drug Administration

Operation Pangea: Junko Yamamoto, World Customs Organization

Fact sheet

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