Heraeus expired products

June 15, 2011
Agreement will help protect dentists and patients from expired, spoiled, and counterfeit dental products.

SOUTH BEND, Indiana--Your patient arrives at his appointed time for the first appointment in an extensive treatment plan. You’ve chosen an appropriately sized impression tray, and open a new container of Flexitime VPS material to begin the impression process.

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But instead of the easily manipulated, malleable putty you have come to expect, you open the Flexitime container to find an unfamiliar product with a strange odor. The package says Heraeus, and the expiration date is a year away. So what happened?

You soon learn that in an attempt to save money and improve the bottom line, the front office didn’t order the products from Heraeus, but rather ordered them online from an unknown overseas distributor who offered deep discounts.

These discounted materials were likely stored improperly by an unauthorized distributor, or perhaps the expiration dates were altered, resulting in expired or spoiled products reaching the offices of well-meaning U.S. dentists. Welcome to the grey market!

“If a product is not managed through the appropriate channels, it can potentially be sitting in a warehouse somewhere for years, and then sold to a dentist at an extremely deep discount,” explained Chris Holden, president of Heraeus Kulzer. “As a dentist, you really don’t know what you are getting or what you are placing in a patient’s mouth.”

Hardly a new issue, the grey market is a term that describes the distribution of a product through channels that, although legal, are not authorized or intended by the product’s original manufacturer. Often, grey market products are not properly shipped or stored, diminishing the efficacy of the product. They may have altered expiration dates, or worse, may be counterfeit. The use of these tainted products then compromises patient care and becomes a public health issue.

The Federal Drug Administration regulates that dental products used and placed in patients' mouths meet accepted standards--standards that include proper storage, shipping, and shelf life. However, with the recent economic global downturn, distributors and doctors have been forced to find ways to conserve/reduce costs.

These attempts to “cut corners” have placed a brighter light on the grey market problem, have resulted in risky approaches to savings, and have created potential problems with serious repercussions on several fronts.

As such, Heraeus Kulzer has entered into an exclusive importation agreement with its parent company, Heraeus Kulzer, GmbH, through which it officially and legally acquired the sole rights as the exclusive importer of the Heraeus Kulzer-branded dental products into North America. By entering into this agreement, Heraeus Kulzer is taking steps to protect the dentists and patients that have come to associate its brand with quality, reliability, and performance.

“Essentially what this means is that we now have the legal backing to combat unauthorized or grey market materials from entering the country through alternative routes,” says Holden.

“Grey market materials pose a threat to manufacturers, dental professionals, and even patients because of the lack of scrutiny on the quality of certain products. We understand the seriousness of the issue and the potential health threats tied to grey market products. Above all, we want to ensure the freshness and superior quality of every product we offer, and we will continue to push back against this growing problem.”

For more information, call (800) 431-1785 or visit www.heraeusdentalusa.com.

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