While hospitals likely have well-established supply chains, providers at other sites, including physician practices, do not necessarily have a history of purchasing PPE from distributors, which is making it difficult in general for them to obtain those in-demand products, said John Sganga, senior vice president of alternate site programs at Premier, a major healthcare group purchasing and improvement organization.
At the same time, Premier has seen an uptick in grey market activity around PPE, he said, in a statement to FierceHealthcare.
Several Premier members have shown the company examples of counterfeit offers (PDF) they’ve received for N95 masks and disinfectant products, some of them offering pages of fake research and experiment results certifying the products’ effects, he said.
“For this reason, Premier is asking alternate site providers to be extra cautious in any purchasing activities they pursue outside of their normal channels,” Sganga said. ”In this environment, everyone should be vigilant about vetting products that are offered to them. “
It’s best for healthcare organizations to stick with their usual supply chain channels and vetted marketplaces such as traditional wholesalers, group purchasing organizations and trusted e-commerce platforms, he said.
Grey market vendors are attempting to capitalize on providers’ needs, sometimes offering difficult to obtain supplies at a 50-times markup, Premier said.
In one case, Premier officials contacted the legitimate manufacturer of N95 masks, who could not determine how fraudulent sellers obtained its supplies and noted differences in packaging, said Chaun Powell, group vice president of strategic supplier engagement at Premier.