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Operation Pangea highlights the dangers of buying health products online

Starting date:
June 22, 2015
Posting date:
June 22, 2015
Type of communication:
Information Update
Source of recall:
Health Canada
Unauthorized products, Undeclared Substance
General Public
Identification number:

As part of Health Canada's ongoing commitment to help protect the health and safety of Canadians, the department partnered with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) for the eighth consecutive year to target counterfeit and unlicensed health products being sold on the Canadian market.

This year's eighth annual Operation Pangea, an international week of action that took place from June 9-16 was the largest of its kind so far. It saw 115 countries and 236 police, customs, and health regulatory agencies participating worldwide and resulted in a record number of illicit and counterfeit health products being seized. Health Canada inspected 3,694 packages, refused 2,043 packages and seized 1,278 packages containing counterfeit or unlicensed health products at the border during this week of action.

This year's Operation Pangea builds on Health Canada's ongoing actions to stop illegal and counterfeit health products from reaching the Canadian market. When Health Canada identifies or is advised of Internet sites selling counterfeit or unlicensed health products, the Department takes appropriate action to protect the health and safety of Canadians.

Health Canada has previously communicated on the risk of buying drugs, natural health products or medical devices online. The website also routinely informs consumers about counterfeit health products that had been found on the Canadian market. The results of this year's Operation Pangea should further remind Canadians that they may be putting their health at risk by buying health products online.

Counterfeit and unlicensed health products can be more than a consumer deception. They may look like the products you use every day but they have not been reviewed by Health Canada for safety, quality or effectiveness. They may contain hidden ingredients not listed on the label, dangerous additives and/or contaminated ingredients. In addition, they may lack the active ingredients Canadians would expect them to contain to help maintain and improve their health. For all of these reasons, they could cause serious health effects.

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