Well, the recent seizure of more than 12,000 pieces of counterfeit dental equipment in the UK is a stark reminder of the risks involved with these types of "deep discount" products. Chances are those incredibly discounted products made their way to those particular retailers via the "Gray Market," "Black Market" or worse yet, are counterfeit.
The Gray Market Black MarketAccording to the ADA, the phrase "gray market" typically is referring to products that are being sold outside of the proper distribution chain. Gray-market products include name brand products that are intended by the manufacturer to be distributed for one national market that are instead diverted and resold by unauthorized distributors to another market.
For example, a manufacturer creates a product to export for distribution in a foreign market. A supply company decides to purchase those products, import that shipment back into the states in order to sell them at ridiculously low prices. You, as the consumer, are presented with products that look legitimate but may pose great health risks for patients. Why? Because more often than not those products are not FDA-approved or do not comply with U.S. Safety and Effectiveness Standards.
The channels used for gray market products typically are the same channels used to sell counterfeit products so the lines between gray market goods and counterfeit goods often are blurry.
Black Market - Counterfeit ProductsBlack market products are illegal by the laws of most countries. Black Market dental products are either products that are stolen or otherwise transported and distributed in ways that avoid regular taxes and fees, making their way to the end user through risky and unknown supply chains. Supply chains that many times blend counterfeit products with gray and black market products.
However, the risks don't stop with repackaging, relabeling, and packaging alterations. Counterfeit dental products are made in exact imitation of the dental supplies that you are using but are made in using poor quality materials. Counterfeit drugs and devices used in dentistry pose serious risks to the health of patients, and put the reputation of the manufacturers of genuine products and the doctors using the non-genuine products at risk.
The Real Cost of Deep DiscountsWhen gray market, black market or counterfeit dental materials are used, dentists cannot be sure how those materials will perform. Most gray and black market products travel back and forth between multiple countries via long shipping and handling processes that subject them to harsh stress and strain that negatively impact their effectiveness.
It is possible to save money by purchasing discounted products, but is it worth the potential hazards of buying and using such products? Most people find it difficult to pass up a great bargain but when a dentist office sees a product selling for half the price of what legitimate dealer is selling it for, it should be a trigger to consider the fact it may be a gray/black market product or worse yet counterfeit. Although discounted dental products are available, the cost of overcoming the potential problems for patients caused by inferior products can be far greater than the amount saved.
Protecting Your Practice and Your PatientsThe best method of protecting yourself is by working to identify dental supplies that may be counterfeit or from gray/black markets.
- Check the Product Packaging - Look for lot numbers and expiration dates. Is the barcode or product description blocked out? Check for product markings such as "For export only" or "Not registered for sale in the US." Is the product packaging not of the quality that you've come to expect from the distributor or manufacturer.
- REASONABLY Low Price - Expect to pay a fair market price for products. Occasionally distributors offer price reductions or sale pricing, however, you should avoid products that have been DEEPLY discounted (think 50% off). If the price is too good to be true, you are probably looking at a suspect product.
- Investigate - If you still have questions about a particular item, take the time to investigate the distributor, the manufacturer and the product itself.
At Discount Disposables, we are 100% committed to supporting that trust by delivering only the very best quality dental products. We know that every one of your patients is counting on you to take care of their smile.
Purchasing our genuine dental products will provide you with consistent product performance, peace of mind and happy healthy patients. If you have questions or concerns about gray/black market or counterfeit products contact us by calling 800-366-0973 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.