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The Civil Guard is one of the two national police forces in Spain. The Spanish Constitution sets out its mission of protecting the free exercise of rights and freedoms and ensures public safety.

In this way, it constitutes an organization of more than 80,000 members, equipped with adequate means and resources, which develops full police missions and it is deployed throughout the national territory.

Based on the provisions of its regulatory legislation (1), the Civil Guard has several competences. Thus, in general, they develop, among other tasks:

  • Administrative police, which in coordination with various authorities and agencies of the Public Administrations, ensures the compliance and enforcement of laws and general provisions and specifically, some special laws.
  • Customs and tax police, which in coordination with the customs administration, acts as fiscal protection of the State, developing the necessary activities aimed at monitoring, preventing and prosecuting smuggling.
  • Security Police, which prevents criminal acts.
  • Judicial Police, under the jurisdiction of the Courts and Tribunals and the State Prosecutor, investigates crimes in order to discover who the alleged offenders are and arrest them, ensuring the instruments, effects and crimes evidences.
  • Traffic police, under the functional dependence of the Traffic Department, works on the road traffic control.
  • Civil protection and assistance police, serving assistance and humanitarian aid.

In addition to the Human and Material Resources Units, it has a central structure and a territorial structure (whose jurisdiction corresponds to the Autonomous Regions, provincial level, and municipal level).

In order to fulfill its tasks, it has staff dedicated to the general tasks of public security, oriented to monitoring, preventing and preliminary actions against crimes, and other staff developing its work among specialized units (road traffic, maritime services, judicial police, mountain rescue, explosives disposal, environmental protection, etc) with the aim of preventing and combating illicit actions requiring specific trained personnel for this purpose.

The specialized units usually have a Command Office at a national level, and a geographical deployment under the command of the Head of the Civil Guard in each territory. Some specialized units (judicial police, information, etc) also have units at a national level, depending organically and for the service directly of each headquarter.

On this general basis, the answer that the Civil Guard conduct in the field of fighting against crime and the maintenance of public safety, is approached in a multidisciplinary manner, by integrating capacities from different areas.

The specialized investigation of organized crime is mainly addressed from two specialized units:

  • Information Service (SIGC) which deals specifically with threats with a high destabilizing effect, such as criminal groups from Eastern Europe, with radical ideology, sectarian, or related to the trafficking of arms, explosives or radioactive substances on a large scale, as well as organized networks of illegal immigration.
  • The units of the Judicial Police (PJ) which is, however, who assumes the major responsibility for the investigation of threats associated to delinquency, among which are the serious and organized one. Thus, its normative basis (2) establishes that the Judicial Police of the Civil Guard is the organizational structure whose function is, according to the provisions of the Spanish Constitution and Laws, the assistance to the Courts and the Public Prosecutor in the investigation of crimes and the discovery and arrest of the offenders.


The GISS (Research Group of Social Security) was formally established in 1978 by resolution of the Ministry of Health and Social Security in development of the Royal Decree 1377/1978, of 16 June, about creating special Judicial Police units of the security forces attached to this Ministry.

Following the reorganization of the Ministry in 1983, the GISS was divided into two separate units, one under the authority of the Ministry of Labour and the other under the authority of the Ministry of Health.

In this way, the GISS reporting to the Ministry of Health in Spain reoriented its role to the investigation of crimes related to fraud to the public health system, as well as crimes of all types linked in general with "health" (irregular contracts of medical equipment, counterfeit prescriptions, deviation and billing of medicines, organ trafficking and illegal transplants, etc.), in any case the tasks of this group are mainly based on analytical work and coordination.

It is at the end of 2011 when the Civil Guard reoriented the activity of the GISS from an analysis tool into a powerful research unit with ability to perform complex investigations, taking advantage of the integration of the Civil Guard capabilities, since joining the Judicial Police Headquarters- Technical Unit of Judicial Police and preserving its original dependence of the current Ministry of Health from its Sub- General Directorate of Quality and Cohesion.

Since November 2011, a total of 169 issues have been covered, with different topics, highlighting: different counterfeits, as it is the case of public prescriptions, proof of assistance to medical consultation, medical and medical leaves reports; different types of fraud; fraudulent use of health cards of death patients or pensioners with limited contribution for social and health centers; irregular prescription or dispensing of medicines (anabolic steroids, psychotropic medicines, etc.) by doctors or pharmacies; thefts of medical prescriptions and seals; fraudulent receipt of benefits for temporary disability; fraudulent billing of orthopedic prostheses; scams related to stem cells; and crimes against public health by trafficking counterfeit, illegal or "reverse trade" medicines; etc.

Thus, in the period between late 2011 and late 2015, the Civil Guard carried out investigations in the framework of GISS, leading to the arrest of a total of 216 people (66 health and pharmaceutical professionals; and 150 individuals) and has proceeded to accuse 216 other people (86 health and pharmaceutical professionals, and 130 individuals); making a total of 432 arrested and accused people, of which 152 can be considered professional by their respective responsibilities in the field of health.

The fraud to social security (health sector) and to public finances, which either has been recovered (cash or assets in bank accounts) or has been detected in investigations so far, and could be claimed later judicially, has been of more than 13,185,000€; and 295,082 counterfeit or illegal medicines have been seized.



(1) Organic Law 2/1986, of 13 of March.

(2) Royal Decree 873/2014, of 10 of October.