Dental Insider Blog

Observation and Commentary On the Dental Industry

3M/ESPE Addresses Gray Market Issue

Posted by dentalinsider on September 20, 2007

3M/ESPE has recently addressed the growing “gray market” problem here is the United States. The recently released literature piece talks about various aspects of dealing with “gray market” goods including ways to detect if you have any “gray market” goods and a list of authorized 3M/ESPE dealers in the United States and Canada. 3M/ESPE did a very nice job on the piece and I congratulate them on taking steps towards educating the dental professionals on the “gray market” problem

You can download the Gray Market Brochure here.



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53 Responses to “3M/ESPE Addresses Gray Market Issue”

  1. I believ they tried this last yet, but until they actually go after the dealers that distribute these products illegally then nothing will ever change. The bottom line is that 3M is still getting the sale they are just making themselves look good.

  2. repairguy said

    I am under the impression there is nothing illegal about it, they cant go after anyone,if they wanted it to stop they would paint the boxes black and mark it NOT FOR RESALE IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, of course that might just cut into thier overall sales numbers and how would they explain that….if it is illegal then it wouldnt take but 2 seconds to fine the people selling it, I dont know much about the grey market but all that I have talked to, from Schein and Patterson higher ups, to the small time sellers its the the same old song, they wont stop it cause they dont want it stopped, i just wonder why they can sell the same item americans have to pay so much for here, for so much cheaper over seas?

  3. […] (PennWell Staff) wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt3M/ESPE did a very nice job on the piece and I congratulate them on taking steps towards educating the dental professionals on the “gray market” .problem. You can download the Gray Market Brochure here. DI. di_feed-32-x-200.jpg … […]

  4. Dental Guy said

    If anything, I think the brochure is more about educating clinicans to make sure they are not using counterfeit product.

    Dentists are cheap and will do anything to save a dollar. If my dentist purchased their products from International Dental Supply I know I would be worried! Who knows if any of their infection control products really do the job.

  5. Joe Sumpter said

    I don’t understand the previous post. I purchase from companies like IDS all the time. “Who knows if their infection control products really do the job”??? What does that mean exactly? A sterilization pouch is a a sterilization pouch is a sterilization pouch – An ear loop mask is an ear loop mask –

    What are you referring to exactly? I am confused –

    Why is the problem always with the mom and pop distributor, and no one ever points the finger at the conglomerate dental supply company selling Single Bond at $140.00 per bottle?

  6. […] Unfortunately, as long as there are buyers this “gray market” will not go away. The Dental Insider has a post about how 3M ESPE is helping to educate the dental industry on distinguishing their […]

  7. Are you saying that $140.00 per bottle of Single bond is expensive or cheap?

  8. Mike said

    I believe that that 3M/ESPE is doing a good thing in helping dentists deal with “gray market” goods including ways to detect if a dentist has grey market goods. As a pre-dental student and someone who will soon be dealing with these different aspects of the business world of dentistry, I would not want to have any or use any “grey market” goods while operating my business and office. I believe that it might be unsafe and that using goods that are acquired from channels other than ones that are authorized is wrong. There needs to be a “crack down” on all those who deal the products illegally because if there are no ramifications then it will never stop.

  9. dental sales said

    Mike, I’m confused. I am under the impression that 3m MAKES these products for sale outside of the USA. Are you saying that they manufacture these products to be “unsafe” for sale outside of the USA, and “safe” products for the USA? 3M is making the product, and distributing it. Are there two different formulas they use? I was under the impression that the only difference is the price and the packaging. I could be wrong in my assumptions. ???

  10. Dental Guy said

    Yes, some gray market products are the same as the products sold through authorized distributors. However, how do you know if the product you are buying from an unauthorized distributor is really the product you think it is and not a knockoff made in China? It’s the same thing as purses and other designer products. Just becuase a bottle says 3M, it may not be actual 3M product becuase the actual source of the product is unknown.

    As for Joe Sumpter, some things in dentistry should not be purchased becuase of their rock bottom prices. Gloves, disinfectant, and other sterilization products need to be effective. If you are using a cheaper product from unknown origins, the efficacy of any product from unkown orgins is questionable.

  11. Reeeeeeealy said

    OK so how do you know your getting a legit product from your authorized dealer?? I worked for 2 BIG authorized dealers & we sold plenty & I mean plenty of “Grey Market” products. These manufacturers are getting their fair share on THEIR”GREY MARKET” products. Bottom line is its
    all a bunch of crap because MONEY IS THE ROOT OF A EVIL. Just look at Dentsply & Scheinarby(Schein Darby) for thoses of you who still think Schein has nothing to do with Darby. Remember Schein was Beckers silent partner!!!!!

  12. USDEALER said

    interesting conversation going on here…as a 20 year veteran in the dental industry, I have seen a lot of grey market goods bought and sold. I myself have been wholesaling for 20 years. Back then there were just a handful..Today, they’re more people in this business of grey market, because it’s lucrative. As far as the big manufacturers are concerned, they created this mess and now are telling dentists their products are fake? OK so there was a single case of people using fake labels and so forth. So why do the big manufacturers raise domestic prices and give reasons such as increase in prices of raw materials and labor charges and so forth, when they sell the exact same item made in the same factory for less in other countries? Some one should explain this to the dentists so they know they’re being ripped off !!!

  13. dental sales said

    USDEALER: I couldn’t have said it better! I have sold many,many grey market items during the past 26 years and never once had a complaint that the product was inferior/fake. I agree, the dentists should be told the truth.

  14. Rick Lindquist said

    Give me a freakin break. Do you think dentistry costs the patient the same as in those other markets? Yes we are in the good old USA and I love it, it’s expensive, but I love it.
    Of course the materials are cheaper elsewhere, because dentistry is cheaper, right down to the street corner dentists in India.
    Getting ripped off? Hell the US dentist paid for the product to be available to that street corner guy in India. His patients paid him for the finest dentistry in the world. This is a small example of why our country leads the world. It’s called capitalism, and it is a wonderful thing.
    I might suggest you are one who is making money with gray market stuff, if you have been in the business for twenty years, you can’t be this clueless!!

  15. Reeeeeeealy said

    Rick must work for Dentsply,3M or Kerr. Rick needs some grey market medication!!!!

  16. wayne perron said

    Give me a freakin break. Do you think dentistry costs the patient the same as in those other markets? Yes we are in the good old USA and I love it, it’s expensive, but I love it.
    Of course the materials are cheaper elsewhere, because dentistry is cheaper, right down to the street corner dentists in India.
    Getting ripped off? Hell the US dentist paid for the product to be available to that street corner guy in India. His patients paid him for the finest dentistry in the world. This is a small example of why our country leads the world. It’s called capitalism, and it is a wonderful thing.
    I might suggest you are one who is making money with gray market stuff, if you have been in the business for twenty years, you can’t be this clueless!!

    No, Ricks a good fella, he doesnt hide who he is or who he works for, however, Rick, your point is on Capitalism is exactly what the gray market is all about, the mfgs wont provide to the mom and pop stores becasue were to damn stupid to sell or represent there product in a good light, so they sell to the big houses who are as smart as the day is long, so we make a lil run around the corner and get all the fixins we can because we are trying to eat too…and the point is, thats capitalism, everyone knows why the gray market exist and why its not gonna go away, open the lines to all who truly qualify to have it and let the market find its own price, hell if you only had to meet the requirments to have a product dont you think patterson dental would have pelton crane, dont ya think schein would have A-dec, dont ya think I would have Midamark (lol) its all bs political…they pick and choose and pressure to see who gets the damn lines, Capitalism rocks, god bless america, pass me the dentsply,, rick send me an email and let me hear some good news…..later wayne

  17. Iselldental said


    Dont you work for one of the biggest gray market dealers in the U.S.?


  18. Rick Lindquist said

    A poignant and salient response. You reeeeealy should not have much trouble figuring out who I work for, you see, I sign my posts….
    Can you reeeeeeeeeeeeealy say that?
    Next time someone asks what you do for a living how do you answer?
    1. I am a dental sales professional.
    2. I swim along the bottom with my mouth open.
    You know the answer, that Dr. is ONLY your ‘customer’ until they find a lower price. I hear the call center is paying about 8 bucks an hour these days, because that is all that is required to take an order. But I hear if you are really good, you get a cool headset to wear.

  19. USDEALER said

    Rick, you must be ignorant and live in a box to know anything what’s going around the world today. You say it’s cheaper elsewhere. Do you have proof of that? Unless you can say you are global traveler, don’t make statements as such. We’re all patriotic to our country not only yourself. You’re right about one thing, “it’s called capitalism”… that’s why we are here to make money. That’s why the big wigs are making the big monies and you are not. I never disclaimed that I never sold grey market, and I will continue to do so, while I can.
    Rick, don’t be so naive. All the manufacturers have an international department head. They have to answer to the CEO about their numbers and they have to look good. Yes there are ways they can curb grey market, but their export numbers will drop and their stock shares drop..and so forth.
    Grey market is here to stay…. get used to it !!!

  20. Rick Lindquist said

    Good Mornin Wayne,
    Your 100% right, it is very political. Capitalism and a representative democracy is our system, of course politics are running the show, and what is running the politics? Money, Money and more Money. It’s that simple. We are going to see some major grief in our industry, as gray market product gets relabeled ( illegal and has already happened, and will happen again)next will be “cloned” products, a while after that will be the big segment on 20/20 about this mess. My crystal ball may be a little cloudy, but it sure looks like we are going down that road.

  21. wayne perron said

    i would imagine were one of the biggest, but i dont get to look into anyone elses checkbook so i couldnt claim that, but as an independent i learn how to get all the lines, im actually more restricted now then when i could cut my own deals and everyone dealt, there was only one line i couldnt back door or deal for, Proma,not even parts, had to have doctor order and put them in later when they arrived…

  22. Reeeeeeealy said

    I dont need a headset!!!! I have an amazing bunch of dentists that go wherever I go. I work for an amazing, wonderful person. I dont swim on the bottom of the ocean I sun myself on my boat thanks to someone who knows what Im worth. As I said before Rick there is plenty of Grey Market meds available for you. You just talk jiberish it sounds to me that maybe someone in your childhood hurt you. Get A GRIP. Grey market has always been around and always will. Everyone is making $$$ big & small alike. Thats why it will always be here.

  23. Rick Lindquist said

    Wow what a concept, you hide behind an alias and demand that I provide proof of my statements? Come on out from behind that alias and we can continue this discussion. If what you are doing is so ‘right’ and you are truly ‘preventing the dentist from being ripped off’ why do you need to hide? I will address your feeble accusations, come on back with your real name, you ‘caped crusader’ and we can continue.

    1. I can and have traveled many places in the world, so what, good for me! The fact is from where I live I can get in my car and drive 40 miles and pay 30 to 50 percent less for dentistry. It will not be the finest dentistry in the world.
    2. It’s all those evil bigwigs, ya that’s the problem. I think that’s kinda the plan in a capitalistic system, to become wealthy. But make sure you blame those nameless and faceless evil doers you caped crusader, while you are trying to become one yourself. It’s the USA, you too can buy as much of their stock as you want.

    C’mon back with your real name and we can continue. You have yet to make a salient point, accusations and innuendo don’t cut it. I am more than ready for a battle of wits, your points so far indicate that I am having that battle with an unarmed man.

  24. USDEALER said


    Coming out with my real name is like shooting myself in the foot and asking for lawsuits from the manufacturers. Are you that stupid to even ask that of me? No one would come out in the open for that matter. Bottomline is grey market is here to stay. I don’t have to prove anything to you. The rest of the industry knows all about. Seems like you’re in in denial… NEXT !!!

  25. AssociateQ said

    Hey now, you guys keep this up and we’ll have to charge for it.

    One thing I don’t understand is why people always seem to dismiss people just because they do not want to reveal their real name. I mean it is not like he is making a statement about a person killing someone and we need to know his credibility. And it is not like he is talking smack about your mom or something. So it would seem their opinion would be just as valid as another. I mean it is not like if “Reallly” was absolutely, 100% correct that it would make a difference. And it is not like you can actually prove who is right or wrong. So in the end everyone is due their opinion.

    Now if we are talking about the fact of whether grey market products are right or wrong then I can see your point. If “reallly’ is a big grey market dealer then of course he would say it is right. And of course his opinion would be jaded. But I actually think in post #24 he admitted as much. (Reallly is the same as USDEALER, right?)

    but my primary question is what facts are actually being debated here? Somewhere along the line this became less of a conversation and more of a complete pissing match.

    The fact is that there would be no grey (or is it gray?) market products if the manufacturers did not want it to happen. It is there way of making the big dealers happy and still getting sales from the small dealers. I mean seriously, how in the hell does anyone go about getting grey market products? from my retail experience we used to get calls all the time from some “broker” who sold all the lines. We already had the lines, so we had no need. But how did they get the products? Where did they buy from? How did they get it so cheap?

    As for export bound products being less expensive there are many reasons for that.

    1. Markets are different around the world, companies want to compete in these markets. Sometimes they have to lower their prices to compete.
    2. If a US manufacturer is selling abroad, sometimes the product will go through 2 or more companies before it gets to the end user. For instance they sell into a master distributor in Europe, that distributor sells to a dealers in France and then they sell to the end user. Sometimes it goes to master distributor, regional distributor and then the dealer and then finally to the end user. So to compensate for all the times it is marked up by the distributor the manufacturer has to sell it cheaper. BUT the master distributor usually is buying in larger quantities. A sale is a sale. When someone comes in and says they want to take a 40′ container of this or that, the deal is made.
    3. Shipping costs make products more expensive, thus the manufacturer sells it for less to compensate.
    4. In many cases, government (and in the case of Russia non-government) agencies make products more expensive. Anyone here sell into Russia? Anyone here sell into China? Japan, Germany, Italy??? I am not talking about selling one or two things, I am talking about trying to set up a distributor in these places. You want to get into Russia you got to pay and you gotta drink some Vodka with some ex-KGB guys. Sounds like a joke, but just ask anyone who has dealt with that region and if they give you an honest answer they will tell you that it is tough and expensive to get things going.

    My question, and it seems that either I am missing something or nobody has answered. How do these grey market products get re-routed to dealers in the USA? I am serious, we all sit and bicker about the fact that grey market is happening and it is here to stay, but how does it happen?

    I mean are the export managers of these manufacturers actually dumping this stuff into the US market? I know that in the past you had to worry about products actually coming back into the USA form other countries, primarily Mexico and South America. But this can only account for so much of it, and if the amounts are as high as predicted it stands to reason that it really is not much of a secret and really not that grey at all.

    One thing is for sure and that is grey market products are everywhere. Somehow I can call one of many “brokers” and buy a products made by 3M, Kerr or one of many other manufacturers for less than the largest dealers in the USA can. I am not in retail, so that is not for me. But you can call it whatever you want – Grey, Black, White or Red. The fact is right or wrong it is a happening.

    (aka. Major Boothroyd)

  26. Rick Lindquist said

    My position is very simple, gray market is wrong. Costco selling Ipods is one thing. Products that are destined for the human body must be held to strict standards to assure that the product meets the highest standards of safety and efficacy. Those standards include proper tracability, storage, shipping, and enduser training. When products go in to the gray market the chain from the manufacturer to the end user is broken.

    I pay for that material as a patient, I should be able to count 100% that the material going in to my mouth meets those strict standards. If the product is obtained outside the authorized dealer network I have no assurance that 100% of those strict conditions are met.

    We used to hear from the gray marketeers that there has never been a problem. Now the story is “well some stuff was relabeled one time” what’s next? Next will be more relabeling, fake product, and then somebody is gonna get an eye put out. Just like mom said.

    Seriously, it will be a big black eye, for the dental business. We sometimes get so focused on the dental business and the Dr. to remember where the money comes from, the patient. If the patient is paying for the finest dentistry in the world, they should know that they are getting the finest materials in the world.

    I think a lot of the gray market stuff never leaves the country. Since the buyer is paying the freight they have no difficulty in changing the destination once the stuff leaves the manufacturing plant. Esp. for truck freight, all it takes is a phone call or an email.

    Anon posters are ok I guess. I just get annoyed when I see bold claims, demands for proof, and name calling, all from behind an alias. But when you are worried that you will get your socks sued off for the business that you are in that makes it ok. But gray market is here to stay. At Costco.

    Signing off on this one.

  27. AssociateQ said

    Rick –

    I totally agree with everything you said.

    I specifically take interest and am 110% in agreement with patient safety. I AM a patient.

    I am not saying I agree with anything or not, my only point is that whether or not the manufacturer is actually “re-routing” these products, they know what is happening. Now that does not make it ok for someone to take advantage of that “greed” within the manufacturers.

    Grey market is here, but grey market is wrong.

    The FDA has made multiple changes and are now requiring everyone who registers (with a few exceptions) pay a fee every year. Supposedly this will give them more funding for vigilance.

    Along with that I would like to see the ADA step up and police their own. But that is entirely different discussion.

    Have a good one –


  28. Reeeeeeealy said

    No I am not USDEALER & I am NOT a him!!!!! I am woman HEAR ME ROAR!!!!!

  29. AssociateQ said

    I am confused now. I am done with this topic. Must take Advil.

  30. kp said

    Just make sure that Advil is legit. might be grey market 😉

  31. Innocent Bystander said

    MONDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2007
    LAUREN PEREZ: Hi, my name is Lauren Perez and I’m vice president of Regulatory Matters for the law firm of Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg. I’m pleased to offer the following testimony on behalf of the American Free Trade Association, AFTA, in connection with which ST&R serves as general counsel. AFTA is a trade association of distributors, importers and wholesalers providing brand name merchandize to the widest spectrum of consumers throughout the country, and fostering a competitive interbrand and intrabrand marketplace through alternative distribution channels.
    The historic names for these channels are the parallel market, or the secondary market. The more recent and more pejorative name is “gray” market, a name which may be more recognizable or memorable, but one which incorrectly implies a sinister, illegal marketplace. (And that’s the fact ?) that the so-called gray market industry is critical to the continued competitiveness of our domestic marketplace.
    Alternative distribution channels are those not preferred or authorized by original product manufacturers for distribution of their products. However, these existing important channels of trade are relied upon by millions of American consumers dependent upon discount mass-retailers to provide less expensive, genuine, unadulterated brand name merchandize to residents in all corners of this country. It is a legal, legitimate and critical marketplace, sanctioned by federal statute and regulation, antitrust policy, and at least two Supreme Court decisions – all of which have concluded
    that foreign and domestic manufacturers should not be able to have unlimited control of the downstream pricing and distribution of their products.
    AFTA agrees that domestic product safety hinges on the ability of this government, in cooperation with lawful U.S. importers and distributors, to ensure product safety throughout the entire lifecycle of the product — from production to consumption. AFTA’s members undertake sound methods to ensure the safety and integrity of the products they distribute. And AFTA looks forward to consulting in great measure with this working group over the coming weeks to ensure that the action plan ultimately submitted to the president includes a commitment to the development and implementation of product safety measures which also assure continuance of the legitimate secondary marketplace.
    Secondary market traders purchase genuine brand name merchandize from sources located outside the United States in finished package form. The products are not counterfeits. They are not bogus merchandize. Some are manufactured products in the United States, others are manufactured elsewhere, but all are genuine goods manufactured by companies authorized by the brand owner. AFTA-member businesses purchase products from known suppliers, most often the manufacturers themselves, or their authorized distributors in the country of export. However, some purchases are from distributors and retailers several steps downstream from the original producer, and details regarding the earlier stages of distribution are often unavailable.
    For the most part, these purchases and importations occur as a result of selective global pricing, and over-distribution of brand-name products in the global marketplace at the selection of the brand name product manufacturers themselves. Their products are in the forms originally manufactured, and have original batch and lot code numbers as affixed by the manufacturer or its authorized distributor. Except that, perhaps, certain packaging alterations made in an effort to protect product source, and/or to specifically identify to consumers who sold the product to the retail customers, the products are pristine and are not tampered with from place of manufacture to ultimate consignee.
    Parallel market traders and members of AFTA depend upon product integrity as the only guaranteed means of continued survival in a highly-competitive global environment. These products are then imported back into the United States, either as re-imports of products originally manufactured here, or otherwise – they can be manufactured outside the United States, and they’re distributed at a variety of discount retail establishments located throughout the country.
    It would be irresponsible of the Interagency Work Group, respectfully, to summarily dismiss critical parallel importers as necessary stakeholders in the formation of a sound and efficient program to ensure the safety of imported consumer goods. Secondary market traders supply many, if not the majority of the products found in well-known mass retail outlets, facilitate the employment of tens of thousands of U.S. residents, substantially add to the wealth of this country’s economy, and draw the most important check and balance on monopolistic marketplace tendencies.
    The report issued to the president issued on September 10th by this Working Group specifically recommended working with the importing community to develop approaches that
    consider risks over the lifecycle of an imported product, and that focus actions and resources to minimize the likelihood of unsafe products reaching U.S. consumers. Although no current statistics exist on the number of U.S. importers distributing the safe, genuine, unadulterated consumer products via secondary channels of trade — largely because there’s been no offer of federal funding for such a study, AFTA suggests the time is ripe for such an analysis to be federally-sponsored and conducted.
    While its existence may be controversial with some U.S. manufacturers, the alternative distribution system for brand name products remains a significant, important and necessary component in providing American consumers with pricing and distribution of brand-name products, and preservation of the competitive alternative marketplace is critical. AFTA is wholly committed to ensuring the safety of the products it distributes to American consumers.
    As stated in the president’s report, the private sector has a strong financial interest in selling safe products to customers, and a one-size-fits-all approach to imports will not effectively address the issues of concern before this Working Group. AFTA looks forward to working closely with you to ensure that the action plan presented to the president includes practical and logistically-possible assurances that the distribution channels relied upon by parallel market traders, related retailers and wholesalers can be depended upon to provide U.S. consumers with competitively-priced, safe, unadulterated and genuine brand name merchandize.
    MR. RON (sp): Is there any particular regulatory action or legislation that you are particularly concerned about — apart from the issues of parallel imports as a trade question, but, specifically, some unintended consequence that you are concerned about?
    MS. PEREZ: Well, I think it’s very important. I think it’s probably not just an issue for AFTA, but for some other speakers that you’ve heard here, that with the focus so much being on the burden of importers to ensure and certify the quality of the processing plants, and people all the way throughout the entire lifecycle — which is important and has to be done, but it can’t always be only the responsibility of the importer.
    In the case of the AFTA members, where there may be no direct relationship going all the way back to the processing plant, it’s important that any legislative or administrative initiative that comes out of this call to ensure the safety of imported products does not inadvertently eliminate this
    kind of trade because of the need to certify the safety of the processing plants — so that there has to be shared responsibility all the way through the line without making it such a burden on importers. They’re not going to be able, because of the way the supply chains work, to provide you with the assurances you need.
    MR. RON: I should clarify the question, then. If the importer is the first U.S. person in the line, and if we don’t actually have legal authority over the non-U.S. persons further back in the stream, could you be a little more clear on what could, or would be done, or shouldn’t be done here within the U.S. territory?
    MS. PEREZ: Well, I think that there are – I think, I think that’s a – I think that’s one of the many different scenarios that can face, you know, products coming into the United States — that if it’s already here; if it’s, if it’s being re-imported; if it was manufactured here; if it’s being sold by another manufacturer. I think the scenario you posed is a unique one. If it’s never been here before and you’ve got a U.S. importer – (inaudible) — on your front line.
    And I do think that there are certain measures that can be untaken by this group to enable that importer to certify the safety of the processing plant, or of the product coming into the United States. So in other words, perhaps, for example, if there was some sort of mandatory certification of the product upon export, if you do not – if you are unable to provide us with a certification of compliance of the foreign manufacturing plant, then you will need to bear the burden, or the expense, of having the actual product inspected and certified as to compliance with U.S. standards prior to export — an example, a hypothetical as something that may work. I think there are – there are solutions, there are ways to deal with that particular situation that, you know, we look forward to working with you on.

  32. Dick McManus, DMD. said

    Plesse let me know if my assumptions are correct concerning the Grey Market.

    The problems starts off by a manufacturer limiting who can sell its products. The products of the big dental manufacturers are in demand and if you distribute dental products and are not among the chosen distributers there are other distributers that are willing to sell you the products you desire without the knowledge of the manufacturer?

    There are distributers that can get foreign made products that are not intented for sale in the US but are sold in Europe and the east. For instance ocassionally I come across a tube of Herculite that is made in Italy and not for sale in the US yet I purchased it from someone maybe at US prices.
    Whats the problem with all of this?
    Dick McManus

  33. Sarah said

    Pointing a finger at the manufacturer as being the responsible party for grey market is a bit short sited … The industry as a whole is to blame. Yes, Mfgs have a place in this pyramid but they are not the sole proprietors of this problem.

    Dealers also hold a stake in this … know for fact that 1 of the big 2 actually admitted to a Mfg (when the sales numbers didn’t match the purchases) that they could purchase Mfg product from another source cheaper … so there is that layer in this blame game.

    Has anyone looked at EBay lately? You can purchase supplies from several sources … Does anyone really think that an outfit calling themselves Pouches Plus Dental Supply is on any manufacturers authorized dealer list? The question is where do they buy there goods for resale … a dealer perhaps or possibly grip stock from a sales rep? Quantities of most items are very limited typically only 3 or 4 available so how easy would that be to get grip stock from your company and resell it to boost your income. Let’s not forget to mention Net.32 … most of the sellers on this parasitic piece of business are not authorized dealers, but you can compare products to get the lowest price … how bloody convient it that.

    Next if the dentist …you know the ones that don’t want to pay the price that authorized dealers are asking and don’t care if they are getting it at near cost prices. The ones that purchase from Pouches Plus Dental Supply?

    And don’t even get me started on Europe … to multifacited to even fathom how a group in Israel even gets dental product since they aren’t a dental company but sell dental product grey market!!

    Bottom line here is that in today’s business world it’s all about the dollar … how little of mine can I spend to get more of someones elses … have a good day!

  34. Eva said

    I love “gray market” and I absolutely do not believe that the items from “gray market” are fake!!! The gray market is not ripping of the dentists! If the item is manufactured in Italy or Germany and dentists can use it over there no problem – why someone here in North America is trying to make the dentists to believe that the product is fake???? Come on!!!! It is all about the money nothing else!!!!! Schein needs to ripp of the dentists otherwise they would not have the money for paying their Sales Reps…….

  35. Ledger said

    Try this for grey market and see if you don’t agree…you can buy Shell,Exxon,Citgo,etc. or you can buy no name gas from the smaller local stations for less.Which would you choose.

  36. Pink Panther said

    Words of Wisdom Ledger…”Words of Wisdom”
    Thank You

  37. Ledger said

    Ever go into the grocery store and purchase their private lable goods ?
    There is Land-O-Lakes butter and then there is Bob’s Big House Butter for a $1 less,Skippy Peanut Butter and then Stop & Shop brand for $1.50 less,etc.
    Do you think that maybe the rest of the world operates on a different playing field than the highly technical and brand specific dental supply business ? Come on….their not doing brain surgery.

  38. Pink Panther said

    Ledger…..And now that economy is not doing so well & things are tight all around I find myself buying stop & shop plates,butter,ect…..because its cheaper & alot of it is either the same & some might even be better. And I save $$$$. That is what the docs are going to start doing more then ever. I myself have no promblem switching Dentsply & Kerr to someone ele’s brand. This might just have a better effect on the little guys & it will hurt Kerr. It has already hurt Dentsply but I think it will hurt Kerr a lot more…….

  39. raj said

    This is ridiculous… people won’t feed their pets food made in China, but dentists will risk their patients health to save $50 on a $800 procedure that is marked up far more than any dental distributor marks up their product.

    The difference between this and any other import / export issue is the health of patients. The areas these supplies were intended for are often impoverished. Dentsply and others are now raising prices in these areas to compensate for the grey market. Did the people here really think the manufactuerers would lower US and European prices out of guilt?

    Yes developed nations do pay for the R & D so others can benefit from our technology… and if you don’t like that, you’re free
    ( it is America ) to go live there and receive that medical care.

    And for the lawyer-esque Vice Prez of some trade comittee who posted that god awful novel on a court case…. At what point does equating the materialistic needs for Prada and Gucci in the less affluent areas of this country have to do with the safety of peoples health, and the effect such distribution channels has on those in impoverished areas of the world?

    It doesn’t, so go back to your linear world and stay there.

    So folks… anyone want to buy there products from the grey market and help put healthcare out of financial reach for people in third world nations? Anybody? Justify that!

    The grey market veterans on this site hiding behind aliases are also the ones who can ruin a practice with false promises… all the more work for Patterson or Schein or whoever to clean up. They are the same people who got fired from the big companies because they couldn’t cut it, weren’t ethical, and had no customer service skills let alone the ability to help a poor dentist run the business side of his practice profitably. You know who you are, ReeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaLLLY!

  40. wayne perron said

    “The grey market veterans on this site hiding behind aliases are also the ones who can ruin a practice with false promises… all the more work for Patterson or Schein or whoever to clean up. They are the same people who got fired from the big companies because they couldn’t cut it, weren’t ethical, and had no customer service skills let alone the ability to help a poor dentist run the business side of his practice profitably. You know who you are, ReeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaLLLY!”says Raj

    Patterson and Schein are gonna come help out the dentist that other companies have screwed over, with what? Gray market? listen those two companies wrap up the whole damn industry, i cant sell Adec or Pelton cause those two have em wrapped up, wanta buy dexis, go pay Schein full retail,wanna Adec chair? go pay patterson full retail,take away dentsply and Kerr and we still survive,who hides behind statements here? everyone here knows who I am, I dont see your name anywhere,Raj?, cant touch our prices, so what, trade ya, Ill take Adec packages, Planmeca pans,Midmark equipment pads,Prodigey xrays,Cerec one,two or three….every damn time I beat the boys out of a sale they whine and bitch about unfair playing fields, it is unfair, they have the advertisment,the money in from mfgs,hell I wish I could make as much money as they make just on advertisment sales in thier catalog, every damn catalog they produce makes em money,wanna be in the inside cover, first listed in vacuum,bolt on some more money into the machine, gray market is nothing, Schein buys gray market,which is legal, what they did with thier pharm line wasnt legal…..Schein and Patterson are a monster,I hope Danaheir gathers thier toys and sells direct to doctors,that would be fun, I tell ya what you let us have our lil grey market and bullshit lil equipment sales and let Schein and Patterson fix everythin wrong with the 3rd world nation, they have the scratch…love that line, “let alone help a poor dentist run the business side of his practice profitably”….I wonder how hard you shopped for the Toyota Prius you drive, did ya call over 30 dealers to see who would save ya a couple bucks, or just setteled in with the largest toyota dealer in the biggest city nearest you?
    You guys do a great job scaring docs, hell I had a doctor who thought grey market was the same as black market,or was made in China or Isreal and sent here…..wayne perron San Francisco

  41. Dental Guy said

    Patterson & Schein are huge, but Benco & Burkhart both sell a-dec and Pelton Crane. Burkhart also sells Planmeca. Patterson likes to say that they are the “exclusive” a-dec dealer when they are only the exclusive nationwide dealer.

    Who knows what Danaher is really thinking. Wasn’t DEXIS only sold direct? Under Danaher’s watch, DEXIS is now closely affiliated with Schein. Even if Danaher were to do more direct sales, it’s not like the dealers are going to have a shortage of high profile competition to promote.

    Many traditional companies like a-dec simply don’t have the internal controls in place to operate a direct sales force becuase they rely on dealers to complete all of their transactions. That can certainly change, but it doesn’t appear that they will be doing anything drastic like that in the forseeable future.

  42. Raj said

    Oh Wayne, its because of you and your company that my office is with Schein now. At least they helped us with our business side, you saved us diddly and caused us a bunch of trouble… now my doctor has money out the ears thanks to the “big” dealers that REALLY know what they are doing and can get free goods that are REAL!!!

    You sold my doctor a bunch of junk and LIED…. the only thing you are is cheap up front and by the way, we found out how much of the stuff you were selling was relabeled, expired, and straight fake when we had the 3M rep come in … they refused to help us!!!!

    I hope you do walk in our office again, so my doctor can give you the spanking your mother never did. Here’s one hygenists vote for the SCHEIN / PATTERSON / BENCO / BURKHART … whatever. I can’t believe you, people are getting hurt Wayne!!!

    And no I’m not going to put my office down here because your a scary person, just leave us alone.

  43. wayne perron said

    hahahahahhahahaha… and hide, but i see u

  44. Dental Insider said

    Raj, Wayne….take your argument somewhere else, this is not the place for it.


  45. Ghostrider said


  46. STDMB said

    I have been selling dental supplies for a very reputable dealer in the states for about 12 years now. We are about a $50 million dollar a year company and we only sell products we are authorized to sell. Gray market is something that has been a thorn in my side for years now. I understand both sides of the fence here but here are the main reasons we do not buy gray market and implement it in with our authorized products. First of all, the manufacturer will not stand behind any product purchased from an unauthorized dealer and I have too much respect and care for my offices to want to put them in that position plus I can offer the national promotions on free goods and be confident they will receive what they are entitled to. Secondly, Kerr, Dentsply, 3M and the like all employ sales reps to either co travel with territory reps from say Schein, Patterson and ourselves or to beat the streets demoing their products and if the Dr. likes what he sees, he can tell the rep the dealer they work with and place the order through the dealer of the Dr.’s choice (authorized dealers of coarse). These reps need to be able to make a living just as the Schein rep or the Patterson rep or myself. If Dr.s are buying from unauthorized dealers, that is taking a lot of money out of the reps from the manufacturers and they are just trying to make a living like the rest of us. In sumation, each Dr. has the choice to do what they feel fit and no I do not believe gray market will ever go away. I just do my best to price match the unauthorized dealer price and that way everyone wins. If I can’t match the price, I appologize and wish them well but I want to help in whatever way possible. Dealers…lets be real too. We do have room to discount. It’s just up to the rep to decide, do I want to sell as much as i can and help both myself and the office feel secure by discounting to the offices needs or do I want to stick to whatever it is I may believe in and bash everyone in the idustry and “rape” Dr’s on price. If that’s the way reps choose to do business, they are just as much a contributor to the rising cost of healthcare in this country as the medical industry. Whatever happened to satisfying the customer first? That’s my philosophy. If any Dr’s out there want their price from an authorized dealer who truly cares about the safety and profitability of their customers, e-mail me at *****@****. I would love nothing more than to take care of you the way it seems others have not and the way you deserve.

  47. Dick McManus said

    I got really interested in this gray market stuff a while ago when a Kerr rep accused me of purchasing gray market Premise. It turned out that my purchases were all made thru Kerr Dealers but I had no idea that Kerr only authorized a limited number of distributers for there products. I have spoken with several dentists and they have no idea that there are only twenty or so authorized Kerr Dealers in the US. The dentist’s do not know if their dealer is authorized to sell Kerr, 3M, Dentsply etc. I know of no dealers that claim to have low,low gray market products and prices. If the dealer has gray market goods he surely keeps it a secret and if you think Schein is not in the gray market; well, I got some land up here I want to sell you. Schlein is mentioned in at least one law suit dealing with grey market practices in selling siemens (sirona) X-ray units. I guess they have settled their differences because schein in now a sirona dealer. It does trouble me that the dentist gets the blame for purchasing gray market products when the real blame should belong to the dealer in the foeign country that breaks his agreement with the manufacturer by diverting products intended for sale in that foreign country back to the US for an easy profit. This dealer has violated a written contract with a manufacturer which the manufacturer does little or nothing about except blame us dentists for being cheap.
    Dick McManus

  48. STDMB said

    Mr. McManus,

    You couldn’t be more correct! It is not the Dr.’s fault if some sales rep comes to you with a great price on say Premise by Kerr. It is the dealers responsibility to inform the office if they are an authorized dealer or not. Dr.’s do get a bad rap for this and get called cheap when all they are trying to do is be more profitable just like anyone else would. I always inform my customers and prospects that we are an authorized dealer of all the lines we sell. Dentsply, Kerr, 3M, GC America. We are authorized distributors of all these lines. A few Dr.’s out there know exactly what they are doing and God bless them. It is not their fault this product made it back to the states and it is not their fault for trying to lower their overhead and be more profitable. It is our responsibility as an authorized dealer to inform and educate prospective customers, not judge. I love to sell authorized product for a very fair price. MSRP means nothing to me cause like I said, I can also do my part to help with the high cost of healthcare in this country by not believing in what the manufacturer says their product is worth. I find out what the Dr. wants and make it fit into his budget. They are the customer right? We as distributors need to look no further than ourselves to see we are a large part of the reason Gray Market is here. We simply charge too much! Period! The Dr. and his practice needs to be our primary focus not just how much we can put in our pocket. If everyone is fair…everyone wins and this starts with the distributors taking care of their customers best interests, not our own! That will bring loyalty and possibly stop dr’s from needing to look for Gray Market and look to us again!

  49. STDMB said

    Dr. McManus,

    Thank you so much for the very informative conversation this morning. It is not very often that a Dr will call back and have a conversation with a sales rep they have never delt with before. My job is pretty tough because I have to do my sales nationwide over the phone and it is very hard to build that trust with a Dr when you don’t call on them with the name Benco or Patterson or Schein. If I can ever be of any assistance to you, please keep my number and never hesitate to call me to check what I can do for you compared to Benco. I do know that I am at a distinct disadvantage being that I can not stop into your office but I know one thing and that I can take excellent care of your needs. Just an FYI, if you are still using XRV, which I don’t believe you are because I believe you mentioned you stopped using their products, I can get you authorized product at a price of 65.95 per syringe. I have a catalog and a free sample syringe of Esthet-x shade A3 on it’s way to you. Thank you again and have a great day!

  50. The Shadow Knows said

    3M will be selling to all again very soon. They are losing $$$$$.Ever since their 20 dealer deal.I am glad serves them right. I am sure Kerr will be following suit maybe even Dentsply will jump on board. This will be very exciting. The 3M reps lost a lot of $$$ because of grey market. Which is 100% legal & there is not a thing that 3M can do about it(they are getting that money too just not the reps & its less profit for 3m) so they lost out BIG time!!!Now maybe the 3m sales reps can reap the benefits that should have never been taken away from them. Cant wait to see what happens.

  51. Dental Guy said

    Do you really know anyone at 3M ESPE?
    It doesn’t sound like it.

  52. The Shadow Knows said

    Maybe I do??? Maybe they are offering to sell to me????Maybe I dont want to get product from them. Trust me I know what I’m talking about. I have been doing this for 20 years I know many many people. I know who to trust & who not to trust. Lets just wait & see.
    Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

  53. Importer Exporter said

    So I guess up to now things have been very quiet about the current standing of many dental Companies I guess well just have to sit back and see what happens next we still have about a month and a half until the year is over, by the looks of Schein, Patterson and Dentsply It doesn’t look good, you can count Danaher and 3M, Their stock is not down but don’t forget that for these two companies Dental is only a BABY so we don’t really see the real picture, so now the question is what is happening to the big FISHES. GOOD LUCK to you all and for all you small fishes now is the time to eat, because unlike the big fishes our stomach doesn’t need much to get satisfied.

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