Merial Assisting with US EPA Actions Announced Against Counterfeit FRONTLINE Packaging

Duluth, GA March 4, 2004 -- Federal law enforcement authorities from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) today released the results of a multi-year investigation into illegal “counterfeiting” of packaging of FRONTLINE® Plus and FRONTLINE® Top Spot® Brand flea and tick products for dogs and cats. US EPA has ordered retailers and distributors to stop selling counterfeit packaged FRONTLINE® products. Merial, which manufactures and markets FRONTLINE® products, has assisted fully with this investigation, and in fact, instigated it by reporting the incidences of this illegal practice to the Agency. Merial is very pleased with this development, since the company is committed to ensuring that customers receive only FRONTLINE® products in their approved packaging.

In announcing this action, the US EPA cited the potential for consumer confusion because of incorrect labeling in the counterfeit product packages. The counterfeiters have repackaged certain quantities of product destined for foreign markets in forged cartons, with potentially mislabeled dosages and incorrect labeling. These illegitimate product packages may not contain all the US EPA-approved product information on dosing and safety instructions.

"FRONTLINE products are safe and effective when used according to proper label instructions," said Dr. Zachary Mills, DVM, Executive Director of Veterinary Services for Merial. "Merial stands behind the quality of all our products. A good safeguard to ensure the integrity of products such as these is to purchase them from a reputable source. The best way to be confident about the source of FRONTLINE products is to purchase them through your veterinarian." Dr. Mills said.

"Veterinarians are in the best position to recommend proper flea and tick care for pets, because they can take into consideration such factors as the weight and health of the animal," said Dr. Link Wellborn, DVM, President of the American Animal Hospital Association.

Consumers who have purchased FRONTLINE from a source other than a veterinarian and/or who have concerns regarding the product’s authenticity can go to http://www.frontline.com/epaand click through product images that will show how to identify authentic packaged product.

In general, there are some simple ways to visually identify authentic packaged product. Inside the box, the FRONTLINE product is contained in a foil blister pack that holds the individual product applicators. In the genuine product packaged for the US, this blister pack is labeled with instructions to use scissors to open the foil or to lift and remove the plastic tab to expose the foil. Conversely, counterfeit packaged product contains no such instructions.

Visually, the back of the US packaging blister pack holding the product applicators is black and white; counterfeit packaging may contain orange colored bars on the back of the blister pack and may include foreign language such as the words "usage veterinaire." To further identify the differences in packaging, pet owners are encouraged to visit http://www.frontline.com/epa.

Anyone with questions or concerns about the authenticity of their FRONTLINE product should return it to the place of purchase. For further information consumers may go to a special website at http://www.frontline.com/epa, for product and packaging photographs and instructions, or call the Merial Consumer Response Center at 1-888-846-2340.

Merial is a world leading innovation-driven animal health company, providing a comprehensive range of products to enhance the health, well-being and performance of a wide range of animal species. Merial operates in more than 150 countries worldwide. Its 2002 sales were in excess of $1.7 billion. Merial Limited is a joint venture between Merck & Co., Inc., and Aventis, S.A. For more information, please see http://www.merial.com/.



 

 


How To Tell If You Have Authentic FRONTLINE Product Approved For US Sale

There are some simple ways to visually identify authentic US-labeled packaged product. Inside the box, the FRONTLINE product is contained in a foil blister pack that holds the individual product applicators. In the genuine product packaged for the US, this blister pack is labeled with instructions to use scissors to open the foil or to lift and remove the plastic tab to expose the foil. Conversely, counterfeit packaged product contains no such instructions. (See Photos Below)

Visually, the back of the US packaging blister pack holding the product applicators is black and white; counterfeit packaging may contain orange colored bars on the back of the blister pack and may include foreign language such as the words "usage veterinaire." (See Photos Below)

Product Approved for US Sale

Product Not Approved for US Sale


Frontline Applicator Package (Back). This graphic is presented as an example only. The exact text may vary depending on the type/size of animal treated.

 

 


Frontline Applicator Package (Back). This graphic is presented as an example only. The exact text  may vary depending on the type/size of animal treated.




Questions and Answers

 

1.      What has the EPA announced?

§         Federal law enforcement authorities from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) today released the results of a multi-year investigation into illegal counterfeiting of packaging of FRONTLINE® Plus and FRONTLINE® Top Spot® flea and tick products for dogs and cats. USA EPA has ordered retailers and distributors to stop selling counterfeit packaged FRONTLINE® products. Merial, which manufactures and markets FRONTLINE products, has assisted fully with this investigation, and in fact, instigated it by reporting initially discovered incidences of this illegal practice to the Agency.

In announcing this action, the US EPA cited the potential for consumer confusion because of incorrect labeling in the counterfeit product packages. The counterfeiters have repackaged certain quantities of product destined for foreign markets in forged cartons, with potentially mislabeled dosages and incorrect labeling. These illegitimate product packages may not contain all the US EPA-approved product information on dosing and safety instructions.

 

2.      Who will this announcement affect?

§         Since Merial only sells it products to veterinarians with veterinarian/client/patient relationships, consumers who purchased FRONTLINE products from such veterinarians should not be concerned about the authenticity of the product.

This announcement addresses the issue of counterfeit packaging and retail outlets who are selling illegal counterfeit packaged FRONTLINE product. The US EPA cited the potential for consumer confusion because of incorrect labeling in the counterfeit product packages. Consumers who have purchased FRONTLINE products through sources other than a veterinarian and/or have concerns regarding the product’s authenticity can go to http://www.frontline.com/epa and click through product images that will show how to identify authentic packaged product.

 

3.      What are the potential concerns of counterfeit-packaged FRONTLINE product?

§         Merial’s top priority is the quality of our products and the health and safety of pets. The efforts behind today’s announcement help ensure that the quality of our products remain unquestioned. We are concerned that:

§         The label may not have the proper usage statements.

§         The label may not reflect the proper dosage and weight requirements of the pet.

§         The label may have confusing instructions regarding the dosage and weight of the pet because it uses the metric system rather than conventional US measurements.

§         The label may not reflect Merial’s special toll-free number in place for customers to call with questions about FRONTLINE products.

 

4.      What should I look for on the package to ensure it is authentic FRONTLINE product?

§         In general, there are some simple ways to visually identify authentic packaged product. Inside the box, the FRONTLINE product is contained in a foil blister pack that holds the individual product applicators. In the genuine product packaged for the US, this blister pack is labeled with instructions to use scissors to open the foil or to lift and remove the plastic tab to expose the foil. Conversely, counterfeit packaged product contains no such instructions.

Visually, the back of the US packaging blister pack holding the product applicators is black and white; counterfeit packaging may contain orange colored bars on the back of the blister pack and may include foreign language such as the words "usage veterinaire." To further identify the differences in packaging, pet owners are encouraged to visit http://www.frontline.com/epa.

 

5.      If I suspect I have "counterfeit" packaged product, what should I do?

§         Anyone with questions or concerns about the authenticity of their FRONTLINE product should return it to the place of purchase. For further information consumers may go to a special website at http://www.frontline.com/epa, for product and packaging photographs and instructions, or call the Merial Consumer Response Center at 1-888-846-2340.

 

6.      How can consumers be sure their product is authentic?

§         The best way to be confident about the source of FRONTLINE products is to purchase it through your veterinarian. In fact, it is our policy to sell our small animal pet products only where a veterinarian/client/patient relationship exists.

Consumers who purchased product from their veterinarian should not be concerned about the authenticity of their products.

 

7.      How is Merial supporting the US EPA investigation?

§         We have assisted fully in this effort and we’re pleased to discuss the role we’ve played in this important investigation. This is an issue we take very seriously. Merial first reported incidences of counterfeit packaging to the US EPA several years ago. We have been in contact with the US EPA and law enforcement agencies from the beginning-providing information, answering questions, and doing everything we can to help. Today’s announcement draws attention to a very important issue, and we hope it will discourage people from the practice in the future.

 

8.      What does Merial think about today’s announcement?

§         Today’s announcement is a great accomplishment for law enforcement, Merial and anyone who cares about the health and safety of their pet-it sends a strong message that counterfeiting animal health products is a very serious issue and those involved may face serious consequences. Merial’s top priorities are the quality of our products and the health and safety of pets, and we’re proud of the job we do. We commend the outstanding efforts of the United State Environmental Protection Agency, and we look forward to continuing our support of this investigation.

 

 

 

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