Visa Supports Global Law Enforcement Action Against Rogue Online Pharmacies

October 14, 2010 at 8:27 AM EDT
Visa Supported INTERPOL Investigations to Shut Down Illegal Online Pharmacies

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 14, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) and Visa Europe today announced support for "Operation Pangea III," a global law enforcement action coordinated by INTERPOL targeting the online sale of counterfeit and illegal medicines resulting in arrests across the globe and the seizure of thousands of potentially harmful medicines. The law enforcement operation, which took place October 5-12, 2010 in more than 40 countries, is the largest of its kind in support of the International Medical Products Anti-Counterfeiting Taskforce (IMPACT). Visa Inc. and Visa Europe joined customs agencies, regulators, and Internet Service Providers around the world to provide investigative support and information to help law enforcement agencies identify and build cases against illegal pharmacies.


"This is a clear message to rogue online pharmacies around the world: you have no refills left," said Michael E. Smith, Global Risk Executive, Visa Inc. "While the vast majority of e-commerce merchants operate legitimate businesses, there are some online pharmacies that sell illegal, counterfeit products that endanger public health and erode trust in the payment system by defrauding consumers. We work with law enforcement agencies such as INTERPOL and support their crucial investigations to ensure that illegal activity does not threaten the integrity of the Visa payment system and harm cardholders."

"Visa has a framework in place to require financial institutions that work with online merchants to ensure e-commerce transactions are legal," said Stanley Skoglund Senior Vice President Payment System Risk at Visa Europe. "However, it is law enforcement actions such as Operation Pangea III that have the most significant effect on rogue pharmacies that potentially harm consumers. We're pleased to be able to support INTERPOL and global law enforcement and help curb the problem of illegal pharmaceutical sales."

In the wake of Operation Pangea III, Visa Inc. and Visa Europe reminded financial institution clients of Visa rules requiring them to review the sales practices of their merchant clients and prevent illegal transactions. Visa does not restrict specific types of goods or services purchased by Visa cardholders or sold by Visa-accepting merchants. However, all transactions must comply with applicable laws in both the country of the buyer and of the seller.

About Visa Inc.: Visa Inc. is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable digital currency. Underpinning digital currency is one of the world's most advanced processing networks--VisaNet--that is capable of handling more than 10,000 transactions a second, with fraud protection for consumers and guaranteed payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank, and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa's innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: Pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products. For more information, visit

About Visa Europe: In Europe, there are over 399 million Visa debit, credit and commercial cards. In the 12 months ending March 2010 those cards were used to make purchases and cash withdrawals to the value of Euro 1.4 trillion. 11.2% of consumer spending at point of sale in Europe is with a Visa card, and more than 70% of that is on Visa debit cards.

Visa Europe is owned and operated by more than 4,000 European member banks and was incorporated in July 2004. In October 2007, Visa Europe became independent of the new global Visa Inc., with an exclusive, irrevocable and perpetual licence in Europe. As a dedicated European payment system it is able to respond quickly to the specific market needs of European banks and their customers - cardholders and retailers - and to meet the European Commission's objective to create a true internal market for payments.

Visa enjoys unsurpassed acceptance around the world. In addition, Visa/PLUS is one of the world's largest global ATM networks, offering cash access in local currency in over 200 countries.

For more information, visit

SOURCE Visa Inc.