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The Role of a Wicked Web
The global economy and the web make it easier for a product registered and cleared for sale specifically in one country to wind up for sale in another, explains Krisa Drost. Any presumed cost savings by acquiring products this way do not factor in the potential cost to dentists in terms of safety or product reliability, nor ultimately the trust and satisfaction of their patients.
In fact, if dentists take into consideration what is happening on the web, they may become quite disturbed, notes Leo Pranitis. For example, a doctor can go onto a site like eBay and purchase dental products such as bonding agents and cements. In some cases, the product may actually appear to be in its original packaging and therefore authentic.
"The risk, however, is that the product is not authentic, or has expired, or has adulterated packaging and lot numbers," Pranitis indicates. "What is particularly alarming is that there is enough of a market out there to support such practices. Doctors who engage in this activity should really be aware that since there is no way to be sure where the product came from, they really have no way of knowing if the product should even be used."
Taking this example further, Pranitis suggests considering being the patient. Would you want a doctor buying medical devices off of eBay and using them in your mouth?
"There are many reasons why manufacturers choose distribution partners, not the least of which is that those dealer partners agree to properly handle and distribute our products," Pranitis says. "Dentists should insist that they only purchase from authorized sources, period."