Costa Rica joins with Interpol to target illegal medicines

Costa Rican officials said they confiscated some 8,194 individual items of medicine at the Peñas Blancas border crossing as part of the country’s participation in a worldwide sweep coordinated by the International Police Agency,

Some 100 countries have taken part in this global operation seeking to disrupt the criminal networks behind the illicit sale of medicines online.

The sweep resulted in 58 arrests worldwide and the seizure of 9.8 million potentially dangerous medicines worth some  $41 million, Interpol said.

Costa Rica said that five public agencies and the  Colegio de Farmacéuticos participated in this effort. The beefed-up surveillance also involved the mails and courier services.

The material confiscated involved vitamins, food supplements, antibiotics, antihistamines and tonics, the government said. Interpol said that elsewhere fake cancer medicine was intercepted.

Interpol said it targeted internet service providers, electronic payment systems and delivery services and identified more than 9,000 Web sites linked to illicit online pharmacies.

The effort against illegal drugs, mostly sold online, was the fourth since 2008.

Costa Rica has a cross-border problem because there is frequent smuggling of medicines from Nicaragua where the prices are lower and there are items not available here that are favored by the large Nicaraguan community living here.

There also is a similar problem with food items.

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