Packaging Firm CEO Admits to Selling Counterfeit Animal Medicine Labels

The CEO of Action Packing and Design has pleaded guilty to intentionally trafficking in counterfeit labels and packaging for Frontline, Frontline Plus, and other Merial products.
VMD Staff
Published: April 06, 2017
Paul S. Rodriguez Jr., the CEO of Action Packing and Design, a packing contractor based in Santa Ana, California, has admitted to making and selling counterfeit animal health product labels and packaging.
 
Rodriguez pleaded guilty to intentionally trafficking in counterfeit labels and packaging for parasiticides and other veterinary medicines between July 2015 and December 2016, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. “[The] defendant did intentionally traffic and attempt to traffic in labels, documentation, and packaging ... for veterinary products, knowing that a counterfeit mark had been applied to such labels, documentation, and packaging,” a statement from the federal government said.

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Rodriguez admitted to making fake labels and packaging for the Merial flea control products Frontline and Frontline Plus and then shipping the labels to Houston, Texas. He also intentionally trafficked in counterfeit trademarked Rimadyl labels, which came from the painkiller product made by Zoetis.
 
According to Rodriguez’s attorney Dyke Huish, Rodriguez is a “hard-working printer who unfortunately, when contacted by someone with ill intent, exercised poor judgment, but who then immediately took responsibility for it.”
 
Rodriguez’s bail is set at $25,000, and he is scheduled to appear for sentencing at the Southern District Court of Texas on October 2. He could face up to 10 years in federal prison and a $2 million fine for his crimes.
 
Merial has provided its customers with the following advice when it comes to finding out whether their products are real or counterfeit.
  1. Make sure the lot number and expiration date on the retail carton match the lot number and expiration date on the applicator package and/or the individual applicators.
  2. Determine whether the instruction leaflet is included. The leaflet provides first-aid statements, including emergency U.S. or related Merial branch telephone numbers; precautionary statements for humans and pets; and directions for use. The leaflet that comes with Frontline Plus usually has an adhesive calendar sticker with instructions for use along with a phone number. Treatment frequency is printed behind the front panel. Visual aids and instructions are also included.
  3. Make sure the pesticide is contained in an applicator package, which is child-resistant.
  4. Make sure the text on the package is in English only. There should be no stickers on the package. The related country's approval numbers and phone numbers should be printed on the box.
  5. Make sure once you open the applicator package, each individual applicator has a label that includes the registrant's name, the product name, and the words/phrases “CAUTION,” “Keep out of reach of children,” and ”For animal treatment only.” The composition of active ingredient(s) should also be included (fipronil for Frontline Top Spot products; fipronil and (S)-methoprene for Frontline Plus products). Make sure the text is in English. Also note that for Merial Frontline Plus, the applicator itself has the lot number and expiration date printed in the front.


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