Our patients, consumers and customers must have unequivocal confidence in the quality, safety and authenticity of Johnson & Johnson products. The global growth of illicit trade in health and personal care products can potentially jeopardize that confidence, and represents a potential threat to public health. Illicit trade has increased dramatically in recent years for many reasons, including globalization, e-commerce growth, technological advancements, and the increasing involvement of transnational organized crime groups. This growing worldwide trade in counterfeit and illicit products puts people’s health at risk, and can undermine their trust in genuine brands and products.
At Johnson & Johnson we have a strong enterprise-wide anti-counterfeiting and brand protection strategy to protect our customers and patients, and our brand reputation, from the impact of illicit trade. Our Global Brand Protection (GBP) team coordinates and leads these efforts across the enterprise. GBP’s extensive capabilities reflect our response to various forms of illicit trade, including counterfeiting, diversion and tampering.
The fight against illicit trade requires close collaboration and coordination across multiple functions and disciplines within our Company, as well as partnerships with numerous external stakeholders. Internally, GBP works closely with Johnson & Johnson Global Security to maintain supply chain security and undertake investigations and enforcement actions; with Quality & Compliance (Q&C) to capture and respond to suspect incident reports; and with the Law Department to handle issues related to trademarks and intellectual property. The organization also works with other functional and commercial business partners to advise on illicit trade risks and embed brand protection best practices and processes in ongoing operations. Externally, GBP collaborates with government, law enforcement agencies, suppliers, academic institutions, industry partners and other stakeholders to extend and enhance the team’s resources, expertise and ability to effectively combat illicit trade.
Proactive & Preventive Approach
GBP’s capabilities for responding to various forms of illicit trade—including counterfeiting, unauthorized diversion and product tampering—have matured and improved substantially over recent years. While we still invest significantly in our response to any reported suspect or confirmed illicit trade incidents, our strategic focus has shifted toward developing and deploying more proactive and preventive measures. Our ongoing and increasing investments in digital authentication technology, targeted market monitoring (online and offline), and advanced data and analytics capabilities are key enablers of this shift in our strategy.
These efforts include leveraging innovative digital technologies to enhance supply chain integrity, safeguard our markets (through early detection of the presence of illicit trade), and more effectively expose the sources, networks and patterns of illicit trade throughout our global markets and channels. Adding foundational capabilities in data analytics will significantly increase our ability to generate actionable intelligence and insights from numerous disparate data sources, both internal and external. Because of the increasing risk of counterfeit products being distributed online, internet monitoring has become an important strategic focus for GBP.
In addition to developing these innovative technologies, we also deploy proven brand protection tools and programs for our at-risk products across the three business segments. These include multi-layered product security features on packaging, ranging from overt/low-security to covert/high-security technologies, and associated market monitoring programs. Product security features work in concert with market monitoring, and enable authentication of products at key points of the end-to-end supply chain, and when a suspect counterfeit product has been identified. Ongoing deployment of item-level product serialization and "track and trace" technologies by Johnson & Johnson’s Supply Chain Visibility group also enhances our ability to detect illicit product that has entered our supply chain.
Prior to deploying product security features and brand protection programs, GBP conducts extensive risk assessments and analysis using a standardized methodology to determine the optimal level of security based on known risk factors and a product’s safety profile. These risk assessment protocols have also been integrated with our new product development process to ensure that all new products are protected prior to launch.
Awareness & Education
Counterfeiting is a global problem that requires coordinated solutions, multi-stakeholder collaboration and continuous awareness raising and education. We are committed to collaborating with health authorities, peer manufacturers, academic institutions, distributors, retailers, and other key players in the health and personal care industry to develop comprehensive supply chain best practices, raise awareness about risks of counterfeiting, and together mount a strong defense and response to illicit traders. In 2017, we engaged in 9 external trade groups, alliances, organizations and agencies either in leadership positions or as a member of industry working groups. Some examples of industry forums where we participate or take leadership positions include:
- IACC (International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition), Board of Directors
- A-CAPP MSU (Center for Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection at Michigan State University), Board of Directors
- ICC/BASCAP (International Chamber of Commerce/Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy), Co-Chair Position in EU
- ASIS International, Vice Chairman, Shanghai Chapter
- Rx360 – An International Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Consortium, Steering Committee Lead
- PSI/PEI (Pharmaceutical Security Institute), Working Group Member
- ASOP (Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies), Member
- QBPC (Quality Brands Protection Committee) China, Member
- EAASM (European Alliance for Access to Safe Medicines), Member
- Brazilian Association of Organic Security, Member
Awareness and education (A&E) among our employees and key internal stakeholders is also an important aspect of our overall brand protection strategy. The foundation of our A&E program is a set of 10 Safe and Secure Supply Chain Best Practices that provide guidance to employees on how to employ brand protection controls and safeguards in areas of the supply chain where issues may typically arise. Examples of best practices instruction include Distributor Compliance, Product Returns and Destruction, Transportation Security, and Facility Security.
In 2017, we trained 500 people (stakeholders) in brand protection best practices. Training is typically delivered through our enterprise e-learning platform, but may also be conducted in person if we are addressing a key functional stakeholder group directly.
Our brand protection training also extends to our suppliers, distributors and customers to educate them about the risks of illicit trade, how to report any suspect incidents or issues, and what actions they can take to guard against the introduction of illicit product into the legitimate supply chain. In 2017, GBP collaborated with our Q&C organization to embed brand protection guidance into the Good Warehousing and Distribution Practices training that is made available to our network of suppliers through Johnson & Johnson’s Supplier Quality Academy, an e-learning platform accessible to our business partners.