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As an industry leader in supply chain integrity, Patterson Companies, Inc. announced its Patterson Dental business is launching an educational campaign, highlighted by its new website located at dentalsupplyintegrity.com, to help protect dentists and their patients from purchasing or using potentially unsafe gray market dental products. Patterson’s initiative was introduced at the Chicago Dental Society’s Midwinter Meeting held in Chicago on February 26-28, 2015.
“Given the potential for dentists to unknowingly purchase counterfeit or dangerous products, we believe that it is important to raise awareness of this issue,” said Paul Guggenheim, president of Patterson Dental. “Dentists cannot be confident that products purchased through the gray market are genuine, safe or that they have been handled appropriately. We believe that by purchasing deeply discounted gray market products, dentists are exposing themselves and their patients to unnecessary risks.”
Dentalsupplyintegrity.com users will find informational resources about the gray market, including how to identify these products and potential industry solutions to the problem. Included on the website are, among other items, a video, infographic, FAQ and a white paper on the topic.
In addition to improving industry awareness, Patterson reportedly is working diligently to ensure products distributed through Patterson Dental are sourced directly from the manufacturer – and not through unintended distribution channels carrying deeply discounted gray market products. These channels are frequently the same as those carrying counterfeit or other illegal black market products.
“Patterson Dental is committed to the highest supply chain integrity," Guggenheim said. "We hope to work more closely with the dental industry to develop consistent, industry-wide safeguards and protections.”
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the term “gray market” generally refers to products that are sold outside the established distribution chain, typically at a deeply discounted price (e.g., products intended to be sold abroad but instead imported and sold in the U.S.). Such products may or may not satisfy FDA-related requirements, or other applicable laws and regulations. A significant concern is that products available on the gray market are often indistinguishable from defective or illegal counterfeit “black market” products that travel through those same distribution channels.