Indonesia shutters 83 sites selling illegal drugs

The country's Food and Drug Monitoring Agency, partnering with Interpol, seizes US$15,600 worth of fake or illegal drugs sold on the Web sites but misses out on capturing key players.

Indonesia's Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) has seized illegal medicine and drugs worth 50 million rupiah (US$15,600) from 83 Web sites peddling the items to online consumers.

A report by The Jakarta Globe Monday said the drug bust was the fifth run of an international joint operation, codenamed Operation Pangea V, involving Indonesia's police and Interpol. The operation targets cross-border trading and trafficking of illegal and fake medicine , it said.

Besides Indonesia, there were 99 other countries taking part in the bust, which was conducted between Sep. 25 and Oct. 2, the report added.

BPOM Chairwoman Lucky Slamet said the 83 sites will be blocked. Two people have already been arrested and four facilities have also been checked, while legal action will be taken against them, she added, without identifying the companies or the people involved. However, BPOM only managed to catch "small fry" operators involved in the illegal online drug trade, and not the key players supplying them.

Slamet also pointed out the online trade of illegal and counterfeit drugs was reaching worrying levels, with many sellers using Facebook and Twitter. So, BPOM will need to work with the police and the Communications and Information Technology Ministry in order to take action against these prepetrators.

"We will expand the coverage of our supervision to include more online media and regions," she said.

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