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The dental product market isn’t always black or white.

Dentist in office

What is Grey Market in the Dental Industry?

If you’re in the dental industry, the grey market can have a serious impact on your business and even the health of your clients.

As an issue that is plaguing the dental industry globally, you may have heard the term, but what it means isn’t as obvious.

So what is the grey market? And, perhaps more importantly, what can you do about it?

The Grey Market Explained

When the dental industry discusses the ‘grey market,’ it’s addressing the issue posed by dental products that are acquired through supply channels that are not authorized by brand manufacturers.

What makes the grey market ‘grey’ is that it’s often difficult to recognize when it is happening.

Sometimes, even the people who are selling grey market products don’t realize it.

What is Wrong with Grey Market Products?

Under normal circumstances, manufacturers use their authorized distributors to secure their supply chain, guaranteeing product authenticity and quality.

Products sold by grey market channels have been diverted from a secured supply chain and could be included in one of these situations:

  • They don’t comply with local laws and are sold in a country where they are not approved for use.
  • Their quality is compromised due to improper handling or storage conditions.
  • They have been repackaged or relabeled.
  • Their expiration date may be changed so they can be sold beyond the original expiration.

They look like the real thing, but are in fact counterfeit products.

Grey Market is a Serious Threat to Patient Safety

young patient with dentist

Grey market has grown as the internet and online purchasing venues have provided easy opportunities for unauthorized products to enter the marketplace, with little scrutiny.

These products can be difficult to distinguish from authentic ones and are tempting to buy because they’re often priced lower than products sold through a secure supply chain. But there’s a huge downside when using them. Every grey market product raises the risk of product failure due to improper storage, shipping or phony expiration dates – not to mention the risk of using an inferior quality, counterfeit product.

3M’s Commitment

A zero tolerance for any activities that put patient safety and dental practices at risk

3M has established measures to help prevent and respond to grey market and counterfeiting threats and to help protect our customers including:

  • Use of secured supply chain (authorized distributors) to sell and deliver our products to guarantee dental professionals receive genuine materials and quality products.
  • Proactively monitor unauthorized sales and enforce our intellectual property rights through legal and regulatory actions to deter illegitimate dealers.
  • Partnering with the dental industry and community to promote a new culture to prevent and stop grey marketing and counterfeiting.

You Have Power to Protect Your Patients and Your Practice

We are all responsible for preserving the integrity of the dental industry and protecting patients.

It is very simple – when purchasing 3M products, only purchase from 3M authorized distributors and stay away from dealers not approved by 3M.

3M Authorized Dealers

  1. Henry Schein
  2. Patterson Dental
  3. Sinclair Dental
  4. K-Dental
  5. Dental Supplies Limited


About the Author

[enBio=Across the globe, 3M helps companies and individuals succeed every day. All while contributing to true global sustainable development through environmental protection, corporate and social responsibility and economic progress. We are applying our science to make a real impact in every person's life around the world.],[enJob=Science. Applied to Life.],[frBio=Chaque jour, 3M aide les entreprises et les gens à réussir. Tout cela en contribuant au développement durable réel par le biais de la protection de l'environnement, la responsabilité sociale en entreprise et le progrès économique. Nous appliquons notre science afin de faire une différence réel dans la vie de chaque personne dans le monde.],[frJob=Science. Au service de la Vie.]

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