J&J Finds More Fake Diabetes Test Strips


Johnson & Johnson has discovered counterfeit versions of its diabetes test strips in India, as the health-care giant continues a long-running global battle to eradicate the fake products.

According to a notice posted online by J&J’s LifeScan business last month, the products were made to resemble OneTouch Ultra blood-glucose test strips. The fake products lacked certain features, such as the OneTouch trademark printed on the test strips.

J&J believes the fake test strips were manufactured in China and repackaged in counterfeit packaging in India, said spokesman David Detmers. The company doesn’t have an estimate of the amount of fake test strips, but it believes it is a very small percentage of total OneTouch strips available in India.

Police in India conducted a raid in February and arrested three men in connection with the fake products, Mr. Detmers said. Indian publications reported the arrests were made in the New Delhi area.

J&J’s LifeScan division said it is working with the Drugs Controller General of India and Customs to try to prevent fake test strips from entering or being distributed in India.

Genuine OneTouch strips are used with meters that help diabetics monitor blood-sugar levels. Fake strips can give inaccurate readings, which can be life-threatening if they cause patients to take too much or too little insulin.

J&J has waged an aggressive battle to bust a counterfeiting ring stretching from China to the U.S., following the discovery of fake OneTouch test strips on the U.S. market in 2006. J&J has seized thousands of boxes of fake products, secured monetary settlements with alleged participants in the counterfeiting ring, and worked with law-enforcement authorities in the U.S. and abroad to pursue criminal cases.

While J&J has seen no evidence of fake OneTouch strips in the U.S. over the past three years, counterfeits continue to periodically crop up in other countries, including Egypt last year and Pakistan in 2009.

The OneTouch products are part of J&J’s diabetes-care business, which generated $2.47 billion in sales for 2010.

Write to Peter Loftus at peter.loftus@dowjones.com