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Gray market products, as Dr. Christensen explains, "include branded goods intended by the brand owner for one national market that instead are diverted and resold by unauthorized distributors to another market." Counterfeit products, as we know, are those that are produced by one party and carry a false brand label of another. Dr. Christensen raises the important point that dentists who purchase products at steep discounts, or who entrust their purchasing decisions to staff (who are logically motivated to save the practice money), may be unknowingly using gray market or counterfeit products. Unauthorized distributors that traffic in these products have the ability to offer them at a significantly lower price than legitimate distributors, so a dramatic price difference between one dental distributor and another is a telltale sign. Gray market and counterfeit products can seriously compromise the quality and longevity of a dentist's work, and can even expose the practice legally.

The only way to ensure that you are using authentic products - whether from 3M ESPE or any other manufacturer - is to order them through a certified distributor. We list ours here on our web site, and other manufacturers should be able to provide you with a similar resource. By purchasing through an authorized distributor, you can be confident that your materials are what the label says they are, and that they have been handled, stored and shipped properly.

Bargains are always tempting. But dentists who use gray market and counterfeit products may end up with more trouble than they bargained for. I encourage everyone to read Dr. Christensen's full piece and revisit their ordering procedures to make sure they are using authentic products.

A counterfeit syringe of Filtek Z250 Universal Restorative (Top) and the real thing (Bottom). Would you know the difference?


This blog was re-posted with permission from 3M ESPE Dental Insights. The original version of the above blog can be found here.


Keith Haig, Director of Marketing and Professional Relations for 3M ESPE, is the voice of 3M ESPE Dental Insights, a new blog in which he examines trends and news in the dental industry, as well as shares the opinions he has developed from his unique perspective.

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