How to spot fake Frontline Plus

Could this be a fake Frontline?

I have been using Frontline the past few years whenever we would have some flea and tick infestation. I noticed all the parasites would die and they'd be protected for as long as 3 months. Beginning last year though, I was questioning how effective this product really is.

Around 2 weeks ago, I bought 2 boxes of Frontline Plus and immediately applied it to my dogs. You see, we went to the beach last April and that was where my dog got the ticks. My cousin brought his Golden retriever which was super infested. He was sprayed with Frontline and left there in my Aunt's beach while he got "rehabilitated". I isolated my dogs so they wouldn't catch those parasites from my cousin's dog. Zoe, my own golden though, kept playing with Kenshee much to my despair.

To cut the long story short, Zoe got the fleas/ticks and she passed it on to my other dogs.

I used Frontline on them just 2 weeks ago. I also put borax on the cracks and crevices, sprinkled it on our rugs and furniture and then vacummed our house every few days. So why am I beginning to see the ticks/fleas coming back? I know it takes 24 hours for them to be killed and all. But hey, I have used Frontline before and it was more potent and effective than this.

How easy it is these days to make counterfeit products. With the influx of fake medicines & tampering with the packaging, the avant of technology and desperation... I was beginning to get scared. What did I put on my poor dogs?

I researched and I found out that fake Frontlines were being made from Taiwan, Australia and even Canada. :(

Could my suspicions be right? First thing I noticed was THERE WAS AN EXPIRATION DATE. Most meds do expire but I checked their official website-- and it said that Frontline Plus doesn't expire.

Here's a photo of the Frontline Plus that I recently bought: (click to enlarge image)

NO TEXT WRITTEN on the back of the applicator!!

The packagings may differ, especially in the units of measurements. The 20-40kgs as stated in my box, might be for a "different market" but how come I wasn't able to see any image like this when I googled it?

Oh no! Do check out the expiration date too.

The Authentic Frontline Plus:

The fake one:

When does this product expire?

Genuine, EPA Approved flea medications DO NOT expire. This flea medication does NOT have an expiration date. Your flea medication will remain fresh, and effective till the very last dose.

The following are REAL EPA registration numbers for FRONTLINE products :

  • Frontline Top Spot for Cats (EPA Reg. No. 65331-2)
  • Frontline Top Spot for Dogs (EPA Reg. No. 65331-3)
  • Frontline Plus for Cats (EPA Reg. No. 65331-4)
  • Frontline Plus for Dogs (EPA Reg. No. 65331-5)



    (picture below shows applicator packing from a different box as an example)

    REAL - Frontline applicator packing has Lot # and dogs weight --->


    There are NO STRIPES on the back of applicator packing ---->


    Real packing is NOT square , no oval shaped cut to open --->


    Text on applicator is readable from BOTTOM TO NECK --->
    Also notice the liquid amount on packing is shown in ml !


  • The lot number on the retail carton matches the lot number on the applicator package and/or the individual applicators.
  • The instruction leaflet is included. It provides the following information: first-aid statements, including emergency U.S. telephone numbers; precautionary statements for humans and pets; directions for use; and storage and disposal statements.
  • The pesticide is contained in an applicator package, which is child-resistant. The directions for opening the child- resistant applicator package include an illustration that actually looks like the applicator package. The directions include "To remove applicator, use scissors or lift and remove plastic tab to expose foil, then pull down."
  • The legitimate applicator package has a notch between the individual applicator packages, which generally are absent on counterfeit products. Text on the package is in English only.
  • Once you open the applicator package, each individual applicator has a label that includes the registrant's name "Merial;" the product name; the EPA registration number; the net contents in fluid ounces (fl. oz.) (not in metric measure, i.e., ml); percentage (%) of active ingredient(s) (fipronil for Frontline Top Spot products; and fipronil and (S)-methoprene for Frontline Plus products); and the statements "CAUTION," "Keep out of reach of children," and "See full label for additional directions." Text is in English only.
  • The applicator label for the dog products includes the size of the dog in pounds on which the product is to be used.

  • Sources:


    Anonymous said...

    I have done alot research on this and I do not believe everything you have said is correct...The "counterfeit"is 100% real it is just packaged to be sold in the is EXACTLY the same product but it is in the european measurements (they use the metric system there is no reason for them to use pounds or oz!) The prices are cheaper there bc they require no prescription unlike the US vets, if its says MERIAL on it then it IS viable. The EPA and the US Merial branch do not want you to buy these products at discount prices(bigger profits for themselves, Merial is a huge corporation think about it). The REAL Frontline Plus from AU DOES in fact have orange stripes on it. I get mine from across seas and have never had a tick or flea (and if you have an honest vet like mine they will tell you the exact same thing). Yes some sites such as Ebay and Amazon do sell counterfeits but not all of these european sites are bad. Bottom line if it says Merial then its the correct product, AU and other countries are not governed by the same guidelines as the US and therefore do not package their products the same way (i.e. warning inserts, weight measurements, ect.) even though they are EXACTLY the same. Dont believe all the hype the US Gov and EPA are pushing in your face, save some money and quit paying bloated vet fees.

    Anonymous said...

    Oh yeah I forgot to add that there MUST be information printed on the back of the applicator. The pictures above do not show that so yes they are probably counterfeit because they are blank. All text MUST be in english also! Forget the orange lines, no notches in the packaging theory...those are real and genuine!

    Ownedbypugs said...

    Merial does sell in Australia. The APVMA ( requires expiration dates to be on veterinary medicines.

    I don't know why just because something is not made in the US, there is paranoia about it's "quality". The australian online retailers sell the same products as the australian vets, which is the same product as the US vets only different packaging regulations.

    Anonymous said...

    I have purchased the so called fake product and the vendor states exactly what ownedbypugs has written. But this product does not work.
    I have a cat with a severe flea allergy and had no probs with frontline sourced from USA but applied this product and it had no effect, the cat is in a right state./ It has licked all it fur from its underside.I wont buy from from Austalia again.For me its not worth the gamble but im sure there are genuine suppiers in Aus.
    You pays your money and takes your chance!

    Charles said...

    Just because the package is labeled "Mariel" is of no use, anyone can print anything...if the counterfeiters were just a bit more careful, their packages would be identical to the genuine product. Look how many counterfeit MS operating systems are sold.

    Counterfeit medicines are definitely a growing problem.

    250,000 people die of malaria each year in SE Asia because of counterfeit anti-malarial drugs.

    The packaging on these drugs is sometimes BETTER than the manufacturer's, and the thousands of small pharmacies often cannot identify counterfeit from genuine.

    Still, the problem is not assisted in any way by the EPA's descriptions of counterfeit packaging, because the packaging does vary from country to country--and Mariel sells the stuff everywhere.

    If you check Mariel's Australia and NZ sites, you will find that they are labeled in SI (metric) units. Since the US is the ONLY country which has not converted to SI units, the most common labeling everywhere else is in metric.

    But you cannot go by packaging, an estimated 20% of US currency in circulation is counterfeit...these days most of it is printed in South America, and those bills are VERY good.

    (Heck, in the '80's I had US $50 bills brand new from the bank which had offset (ink from the back of bills smeared on the fronts. Bills which the mint should have pulled rather than putting into circulation.)

    Charles said...

    There are three ways I know to "positively" identify genuine Frontline.

    1) Laboratory analysis. The only perfect method.
    2) Did it work. No reports have yet been made of resistance to the drugs in Frontline.
    3) Did your pet have an adverse reaction. This is not at all perfect, because there is an incidence of reaction to the genuine product, although it is very low. But in any case you need to check it out, because such reaction to any product can kill your animal.

    Why are prices different in different markets?

    All international sellers do this, they always try and charge what the market will pay. This is the reason that Canadian human drugs and Mexican drugs are much cheaper, The drugs are the same quality, but the mark-ups match the income levels (or in the case of Canada, are restricted by law.)


    Anonymous: did you verify that the problem is fleas? Cats often lick their belly fur off for psychological reasons, including nervousness.

    If you or your vet found flea evidence, then you are probably correct.


    But buying in the US market doesn't guarantee a genuine product at all--very, very few products actually get checked as they come through the borders, and there are hundreds of thousands of counterfeits (check with US Customs.)

    Your best guarantee is to have dealt with someone who has consistently delivered working product--but any buyer may be tempted by an extra $10-$30 in their pocket.

    I've been buying from the same supplier in NZ for several years at a substantial discount, with no problems.

    Buyer beware, in this as in all things.

    Charles said...

    The first mistake is to assume that because the government has watchdogs and laws, that they can protect you--they cannot.

    For that matter, think about the police. If you are burglarized or mugged, how likely is it that the police will stop the action right then and there? They cannot. They are under no obligation to come and protect you if you are concerned. They are obligated to follow up on reports, but if you ask them if you will get your iPod back, they will tell you that it is unlikely.

    Your first line of defense is ALWAYS yourself--no one else is always with you.

    If you knew when and where you were going to be mugged, you wouldn't be there and then.

    When asked why I carry a sidearm, the answer is that I have no idea when and where I may be attacked, so must be prepared everywhere at all times. This is why rules against carrying weapons within reach inside a vehicle are silly. When you're carjacked, what do you do? Tell them, "just a second while I get my weapon and load it"?

    Not being greedy is the first and best defense to being conned (although smart operators know that sometimes you aim high, and people will assume it's real because you charge so much.)

    When buying, if the price seems very very low for the market it is selling in, it bears closer examination.

    The EPA does use the word counterfeit inappropriately, because the genuine products from overseas are not necessarily counterfeit, but they are probably not labeled for sale in the US.

    But the US government routinely does this sort of the point that it's hard to know when to trust what they say. Remember that at one time the US government said that marijuana turned people into "crazed sex fiend killers."

    The closest that comes to the truth is that people susceptible to schizophrenia can be pushed into by using the drug. But that is a VERY small part of the population.

    They also have labeled, at various times, tobacco, alcohol, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine as "instantly addictive."

    Tobacco, widely considered by the medical profession to be "the most addictive drug," addictive drug, takes many applications before most people become addicted, and a percentage of people NEVER become addicted.

    These actions do not help the people trust their government, and in fact do grave disservice to the function that they are supposed to be performing.

    vfox24 said...

    I was wondering where you buy your Frontline Plus. You live in Cebu dba? I just got my first dog and would like to protect him against fleas and ticks but after reading your post I am hesitant to buy just any Frontline plus for fear that it may not be authentic.. Hope you can give me an idea on where I can purchase the authentic product and about how much would it cost? Thanks!

    Anonymous said...

    Many US Companies ship to Europe therefore why should European products not be sent to the USA. If they were, one would expect the weight to be in kg not pounds. In my ignorance I don't know what EPA means but I assume it to be a test approval. Yet again if this product was not packaged for the US then again it will not have the correct approvals but this does not make this product a FAKE or inferior.
    Although I agree there are far too many Fake products being offered on the web and Discount Centers but I don't believe it can be assumed IF the products were packed for Europe, Australia etc they FAKE. (Beware they maybe).
    Maybe US dealers should stop sending their US products to the EU. Check out and see many dealers of Frontline are offering to post to Europe, with their FAKE boxes, labels and approvals !!!!!!!
    PS The 4 photos of the boxes shown above are not the same pictures of dogs as on Spanish boxes. Does this make either or both of them Fakes of just different.

    Melanie Dalee said...

    I recently had the exact experience as the blogger where we applied Frontline purchased from an internet store to our dog. I've used Frontline in the past and found it to be a very effective product. After using the newly purchased Frontline, I continually found ticks on our dog. Fully engorged. Thinking she may have gotten wet a little early, I reapplied the product two weeks later. Same problem. I checked with a vet tech friend and she informed me of the problems of counterfeit products. Looking into it, sure enough, not genuine Frontline. If this product is a different product and is just as good, one)why is it working so poorly? and two)why are they marketing it under false pretenses?? I am not as mad about the money as the fact that my dog has been potentially exposed to disease carrying ticks that can affect her long term health

    CBoling4746 said...

    Thank you for this most informative blog. I like a good bargain, but when it comes to my pets, I'm extremely careful. This blog really helped identify the fake from the real product and now I feel relieved that I bought "the real thing."

    interceptor said...

    Frontline provides long-lasting control not only for ticks but also for clicks. Frontline eliminates almost, if not all, of the clicks and ticks within 24 to 48 hours. It eliminates flea egg and egg before they older. Fipronil, the ingredient in Frontline, is stored in the sebaceous glands under the dog's skin. It's reapplied instantly through the hair roots.

    Anonymous said...

    If "anyone can print anything", then how do we know that the product sold by American sellers is not counterfeit also if it has Merial on the lable?

    Does anyone have a photo of a legitimate package of Frontline Plus from AU? I think that might help.

    By the way, the colors on this page make if VERY difficult to read. I had to highlight everything in order to read it.

    Shiba Guy said...

    I totally agree with this whole article. I recently purchased Frontline on eBay and received the exact same looking box package as my stuff that I bought from the vet last year. I saved the box for whatever reason??? So the packaging looked really good. The applicators I received had expiration dates and the orange stripes just like the photos. The lot numbers on the box and applicators didn't match either. I took it into my vet and compared it to theirs and confirmed everything that is written in this article!!!!! Plus, on Merial's Frontline website under there FAQ section it says this doesn't expire. If you’re reading this article take it all into effect! Job well done on the article!

    Anonymous said...

    "No expiration" only applies to Frontline Plus in USA. All other countries, they have since converted to metric (SI) units and according to regulations, an expiration date MUST be printed on the packagings, especially for medications to protect consumers from getting ineffective and old products.
    Also, despite some claims that Frontline Plus is made in the US, that's totally bogus because Merial, France is the only Merial that manufactures Frontline Plus products. Merial, USA just imports from them. If not, why would the boxes have "Made in France" printed on them if some Merial, USA reps claim otherwise?
    I personally only get Frontline Plus in metric packaging, ie. from Merial, AU/UK because I can be sure I'm not getting old products. Some of my neighbors and I had bought USA Frontline Plus and they totally didn't work, could be they were from more than 5 years ago, not new/fresh or it's fake.
    All Frontline Plus are made identical, chemical and dosages. It's quite ridiculous to say anything different is fake. It's the same as saying the "Made in China" Nike shoes are real but those "Made in Vietnam" are fake or Louis Vuitton made in France is real, the one made in Spain is fake. LV has products made in both Spain and France.

    Going to Merial, USA website to check on eg. Merial, AU Frontline Plus for authenticity is unapplicable. On there, it basically just says everything apart from US Frontline Plus is fake.
    Biggest reason I could think of as to why they do that is because of the money they are making. If you are making millions, why would you want to lose marketshare by giving information such as all Frontline Plus are made identical, only difference is the packaging?
    Big corps know they can get away with it because they know a lot of people do not do their own researches. Only based on what they are told.

    Before I moved away, my neighbor who's a vet,
    when I asked him abt metric packaging Frontline Plus, even him, a vet, said he'd rather be allowed to sell those because when US Frontline Plus didn't work for some customers, they would often accuse him of selling expired products to them. He even said, he often advised customers who couldn't afford the price of US Frontline Plus to buy Australian's. He couldn't sell them at much lower prices because Merial, USA does not allow that.

    Basically if the batch number and expiration dates on the boxes match that printed on the applicators, those are most likely genuine. Do your own research instead of blindly following what's said and not on a website.
    Easiest way is call the Merial up and check. By Merial, I'm not referring to Merial, USA. It's the Merial branch printed on the packaging. I once spoke to Merial, AU product manager because of the claims by Merial, USA. She told me very firmly that all their products MUST have expiration dates. She verified that the product I got is authentic. When I gave her the link to Merial, USA website about claiming those were fake, she was pretty annoyed. "I have no idea why they are trying to say our products are fake since all Frontline Plus come from Merial, France. We aren't even competing with them. They shouldn't be putting up claims like that!"

    Anonymous said...

    Merial has different offices around the globe and some of these manufacture the Frontline products. Just like human meds, a medicine may not work for all beings as each of us reacts differently. This may go with other living things.

    I still think that products needs to have an expiry date as this may be hazardous to the health of a living creature.

    Anonymous said...

    We just had a rampant problem with tapeworms/flea infestations at our place of business (which spread to clients' dogs). We diligently tried to get on top of it, Borax, Frontline, spraying, lord knows how many doses of CapStar to try and rid all of our personal and foster dogs of the offenders.
    In the end we have spent way more on deworming, oral preventatives, and time spent, than the money we saved buying this fake product online.
    It fit the description on this site to a T. It DID NOT work.
    I have to wonder why the other anonymous poster is so vehemently defending a counterfeit product.

    Anonymous said...

    Note that Merial has changed its packaging (I questioned it when purchasing two boxes of Frontline Plus from my vet last week & noticed that one package looked VERY different from the other), so the good advice given on this site & others should probably be updated. I called Merial this morning & confirmed that changes have indeed occurred. Here is a link to the EPA website so you can see the approval of the packaging changes and the detail of the packaging:

    JhenC said...

    Anyone looking for cheap Frontline plus for Dogs knows that it can be difficult to find. The same for Frontline plus for Cats. Here I hope to help you be able to get low priced Frontline plus and want to offer you some tips on how to find it at great prices.

    One of the best ways to buy low priced Frontline is to ensure that you do a thorough price comparison. Many people forget the importance of checking on occasion to ensure that they are getting the best possible price. If you spend a little of your time looking at as many resources as you possibly can then you will be amazed at just how much money you can save. ---

    Anonymous said...

    I ordered Frontline Plus from a pet care website in Canada. It did not work whatsoever for my boxer dog. Frontline has always kept my dog bug free so I know for a fact that what I got was fake. He has been so miserable that I have had to bathe him in the middle of the night just to give him a short reprieve from the biting bugs.I have since purchased frontline from my vet and it has worked perfectly. Buyers beware. Don't risk your pets well being for the sake of saving a few bucks.Your pets love you and depend on you to take care of them. Do not risk buying over seas.

    Anonymous said...

    I've used Frontline Plus from Merial, AU (metric packaging) from small to XL dogs for the last 10 years and I never have tick/flea problems and I do bring my dogs on hikes. On my Frontline Plus, there are no orange stripes, if I remember correctly, they used to have it but after the packaging was changed 2-3 years ago, the stripes were removed.

    I was using US Frontline Plus from my vet before switching to AU Frontline Plus because the US Frontline Plus did not work. I don't know if I'm getting old products or the fleas/ticks have grown immune. When consulting with my vet about the AU version, he confirmed that there's no difference, but usually vets were not allowed to say that since they would be blacklisted by the US branch if found out.
    Personally, I still prefer the expiration dates on all types of meds because I think it really protects my pets and I against old and ineffective meds.

    The only, maybe, fake Frontline Plus I had seen was a few years ago. My friend bought from an online store, she was sent US Frontline Plus but the batch number on the applicators did not match the numbers on the box.

    I worked in customer service of a huge US pharmaceutical MNC 5 years ago, we had often been instructed to indicate that products from the overseas branches were fake, I never asked why since my boss didn't like questions asked. Basically I learnt to do my own researches, because of my own job experience, instead of relying on what customer service reps of any company say. Heh, a lot of times, we were just answering based on how we were instructed to answer.

    I remember what my Australian friend once said to me, "If it (Frontline Plus)can be sold here and used on pets, why can't it be used by pets in USA? Your German Shep and westie are different from mine just because they live in USA? If so, then USA should stop exporting things to AU, since we are different from Americans!" LOL

    cathy c said...

    i have always used frontline that i purchase from amazon, it always works perfectly and thankfully my little maltipoo has not had fleas. i ordered a new 6 pack box after finishing up the previously purchased,effective one. upon arrival i applied it to my pup. within a week or so, my pup was tiching like crazy so i thought that purhaps i had rendered it ineffective by washing him too soon or something. so i re-treated him. the itching did not stop and his flea count climbed. when i asked the vet she told me that they do not recommend frontline plus anymore because it is ineffective in our area. they said either the formula changed or the fleas have become immune to it. either way i have spent a good bit of money and would like a refund. the fleas went away when i treated with a similar product which i purchased at the vet.

    Sue G said...

    I also have purchased Frontline Plus for a company in AU for many years, but what I ordered this time from them has not worked. I don't know if a formula has changed or the fleas are immuned to the product. I have a friend that orders though the same company and she is having the same problem. All the bactch #'s match on the packaging and it does have the Meril logo, made in France and an exp. date. I have learned a lot from all the posts.

    Anonymous said...

    I have purchased frontline plus from AU. I never had a flea problem until this purchase. Before ebay I bought from a vet. One of my dogs seems to react negatively when I put frontline on him. If the caution is at the bottom is that okay or does it have to be on the bottom left. I did not know of all this fake stuff and don't want to harm my pets. I purchased from ebay and the caution is on the bottom not the left bottom. I have not received the product yet to match numbers. My old boxes I still have and they have the caution at the middle of the bottom. Concerned

    Anonymous said...

    How about AU purchased frontline plus with lot numbers like EPA Reg.No65331-5 LOT NO: and on the same box EPA Est.65331-FR-2 H66501AR. These are on the same box for dogs 89-132 lbs. Have I been had? This really makes me angry and if it is a fake I will do everything I can to make sure these waste to society pay for their behavior.

    ooh said...

    Thanks for the advice, it was really useful. I really would love to buy fake Frontline. :)

    Anonymous said...

    Bottom line is the fake product absolutely does not work!Within a week my Yorkie was infested with fleas,but no problem with fleas when I purchased it from the vet.So if it is genuine it works.

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    Anonymous said...

    I recently purchased some Frontline+ from a seller on eBay. Didn't notice that the package was different until it was delivered. I started thinking it was counterfeit so I started looking and for info and wound up here and a bunch of other sites, doesn't seem like there are any post's past 2014 but I figure I'll post my experience. My package was from Merial South Africa. It had Information on the package in both English and another language I assume is a South African language. Its batch numbers matched and it had an expiration date (which you will find on non US Frontline. No EPA numbers, red stripes across the foil like packages with For Veterinary Use - AD US. Usage Veterinaire printed in the stripes. The foil packages were square, no cut outs at the tops. The individual "pipette" had Merial 4.02ml and Frontline Plus with the trade mark printed in red (big dog color). Counterfeit right? I thought so, especially after eBay pulled the item from the sellers listings. Ebays guide says the most important thing to look for were matching batch numbers and expiration dates. Mine were a match soooooooooo what to do? After reading all the crap out there it seems that contacting Merial US was a waste of time I decided to add International calling to my Cell phone and call Merial South Africa. Guess what folks? My frontline is the REAL DEAL! The folks at Merial South Africa confirmed that by batch and expiration date as well as the physical description of the packaging. I looked at dozens of pictures and read numerous accounts that led me to believe that what I bought was counterfeit. Makes me wonder how much of the information out there is propagated by high end retailers, fast on the trigger bloggers, fake news sources and "experts". If I can find the truth you can too. Ten bucks for International calling for my cell and the wealth of information I learned was worth it.

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