Letters: Gray market products
May 18, 2015
Dentists, unlike physicians, usually fail to note the brand name of products that are used in patient care in their written records. Proper notes are important for liability; forensic; product recall; allergic reactions; gray market products (private label, rejected batch, me-too, off-brands, out-of-date products, foreign imports, fraudulent products, etc.); and the patients' right to know. Pharmaceuticals (drugs) at a hospital come with a paper trail but not dental products (devices), which usually serve the patient for decades.
Including the manufacture/expiration date and batch number is also possible using bar codes and electronic records, in addition to detailed written records. It is rarely taught in dental schools. Some manufacturers provide this information willingly, but most do not. The Identalloy program serves us well but is limited; the ADA has stepped back from this issue for too long. The old product certification program was dropped, but the ADA does sponsor a vigorous standards program for the USA.
What happens when a plaintiff's attorney asks five years from now, "What did you use, doctor?" If it isn't written, it didn't happen.
Lawrence Gettleman, D.M.D.