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Retailers, brands and NACDS join Buy Safe America Coalition

Several leading personal care and beauty brands are joining the ranks of the Buy Safe America Coalition, a group focused on combating organized retail crime and protecting consumers from counterfeit and stolen goods. 

Walgreens, CVS Health, Ulta Beauty and Philips, along with the National Association of Chain Drug Stores have signed on to take part in the coalition, joining such members as the Consumer Healthcare Products Association and the Personal Care Products Council. 

The coalition is responding to an uptick in counterfeit beauty and personal care products being sold, particularly in online marketplaces, though sales of stolen, fake and fraudulent beauty and personal care products has long been something sold online. Brand protection experts have estimated a 56% increase in counterfeit beauty and personal care products this year. 

“Walgreens is pleased to join the Buy Safe America Coalition in support of advancing the INFORM Consumers Act to bring transparency and accountability to today’s digital marketplaces in order to remove incentives for retail theft and help make our communities safer,” said Alex Gourlay, co-COO of Walgreens Boots Alliance. “Now, more than ever, consumers deserve to know who they are buying products from online, in order to make safe and informed purchasing decisions for themselves and their families.” 

The coalition noted that the Department of Homeland Security has warned of the presence of arsenic, mercury, aluminum, lead and other hazardous ingredients used in counterfeit cosmetics or beauty products. 

“The issue of fraudulent sales is about much more than protecting our brand and products we offer — it’s about protecting our associates and our guests whose safety is our highest priority,” said Mary Dillon, CEO of Ulta Beauty. “Addressing these crimes has been a priority at Ulta Beauty for some time and one way to move the needle is impacting the ability to profit from sales of stolen goods. Establishing transparency and accountability in online marketplaces will help bring an end to this growing problem and we are proud to join this coalition’s efforts.” 

The coalition is urging Congress to pass the INFORM Consumers Act to modernize consumer protection laws by requiring online marketplaces to collect and verify basic seller information, and require sellers to provide the same information to consumers. 

“From individual shoplifters to sophisticated criminal enterprises, organized retail crime hurts the businesses that line Main Street in communities across the country,” said Steve Anderson, President and CEO, National Association of Chain Drug Stores. “By shining a light and bringing more transparency to these online marketplaces, we can prevent the sale of stolen health and wellness products. We applaud the efforts to give law enforcement the tools they need to bring down these bad actors and help keep businesses and consumers safe.” 

Selina Thurer, business marketing and sales leader for Philips Personal Health North America said, “Quality, integrity and trust are integral to Philips brand and we strive to ensure these qualities are omnipresent for consumers along their entire purchasing journey” said  “Many consumers can immediately spot if a product online purchased does not meet Philips stringent brand integrity standards, however, we want the shopping experience to be friction-free. It will take partnership from the largest retailers and online marketplaces to support these efforts, so customers shopping online have the confidence that the products they purchase are those that they have come to trust.”

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