Have you heard of Gray Market? How about Black Market? Many people have not. It works kind of like this:
Want to buy a Rolex watch for half price? How about a Prada handbag for $50? You can pick one up cheap in India or China. Everyone knows these are not the genuine article, but they like to look cool without dropping a lot of cash. They are fake, just like these teeth.
Welcome to the black market. Counterfeit products made to look like the real deal are circulating in our area. And are being used in patients mouths and to sterilize our offices.
How does this differ from gray market?
Each country has its own version of the FDA, so even if Dentsply Sirona makes it for another country, it is usually not the FDA approved version of the product, and is slightly different. If it is not labeled for sale in the US it is not considered FDA cleared, and a huge part of FDA clearance is the labeling.
Most importantly, if you use products that were purchased from another country here in America, that would be an illegal violation under ‘unprofessional conduct’, and quite literally your license can be revoked and you could lose your practice. You must use products that are FDA approved. It is not legal to use products purchased overseas, because there is no way of proving that it meets FDA safety standards.
And this is why certain dealers are able to offer these products for such a low price.
Gray Market is such a difficult problem to eliminate. 3M’s position is to have a zero tolerance policy, similar to Patterson Dental. We also believe that a key component to reducing the temptation of gray market is through education.
With 3M’s help, Dr. Gordon Christensen, one of the most sought-after speakers in the dental profession, is spreading the word about the problems of Gray Market activity. The following two videos featuring Dr. Christensen were just produced and are being distributed by 3M.
#1: The Graying of Dentistry (And How to Avoid it): (Link)
#2: Taking Action to Avoid Gray Market Risks: (Link)
Please watch these videos and share them with your team. The more awareness we can create, the less likely it is that gray market dealers will succeed in deceiving YOU.
After watching the videos, do you understand what gray market is and the risks associated with using an unauthorized dealer? I will assume a resound YES!
If not, ask yourself, why you feel the risk is worth using an unauthorized dealer? Most often it will be price. For many products, we have promotions or other tools available to help overcome the price objection, if you commit to a certain volume.
On a personal level, I am more concerned with gray market than ever before because at best it is product that has been brought back into the US and resold. However, I believe that there is actually a lot of black market or counterfeit goods being sold through gray market channels. To me that is the real risk that I as a patient would have no tolerance for and would be very upset about. It has been my experience that if you educate offices of the risks involved and understand their motivations, most will agree that it is not worth the small savings and use authorized distributors, such as Patterson.
Now you know why they are selling for such a discounted price. Just like the Rolex and the Prada.