The Danger of Gray Market Products
The key to success in your dental practice is providing trustworthy care for your patients while also keeping a balance between your expenses and billing. It may be tempting to look at purchasing lower priced products from suppliers that appear to be legitimate. Here’s what you need to know:
- The “gray market” is the selling of products through an unauthorized supply chain.
- Gray market products are primarily acquired through product theft, diversion (see #9 below), or counterfeit.
- The gray market is the easiest way for counterfeiters to move their products into the US healthcare market.
- Authentic products enter the gray market through theft or diversion and may be re-labeled with a later expiration date.
- There is no guarantee these products have been shipped or stored according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
- Gray market products are not uncommon – the WHO has estimated that more than 10% of the global drug market is made up of counterfeit products.
- In six months in 2014, the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency seized more than 12,000 pieces of illegal dental equipment.
- The internet and online purchasing have created more opportunities for gray market products.
- Some products in the gray market are authentically manufactured – but were not made for the US market. These products often come from diverted shipments, or are shipments meant for another country that never leave port.
- Gray market products can be difficult to distinguish from those that have been tampered with or are counterfeit, even by the most experienced dentist.
- Secondary dealers such as eBay, Amazon, and Alibaba, may not take the precautionary measures authorized distributors take to ensure the authenticity of the products they sell.
- Chain clinics and group practices with non-clinical staff making purchasing decisions are most susceptible to the gray market.
Gray market products risk patient safety, and ultimately put your entire business at risk. The simplest way to protect yourself is to only purchase products from distribution channels directly authorized by the manufacturer. If you are approached by a new distributor promising lower prices, call the manufacturer directly to see if they really are authorized. Manufacturers are at the forefront of this issue and are very motivated to make sure dentists know who their authorized distributors are.
DES Dental is directly authorized for all the products we sell. We guarantee our products – your business is our business, and we want you to be successful. That means protecting you from the risks of the gray market and helping you to keep your patients safe. Give us a call today and let’s work together to protect the integrity of the dental supply chain.