UK dental wholesaler says supplies are strained in face of coronavirus

Dental Sky has stopped all orders made by the general public to ease demand on its suppliesA dental supply company has stopped accepting orders from the general public in response to increasing demands sparked by coronavirus.

Dental Sky is only processing orders for face masks and hand gels from dentists.

It states it is also experiencing shipment issues, forcing the company to carefully allocate products and limit the number of orders.

This comes as the General Dental Council (GDC) states the dental industry will face an ‘increased burden’ if coronavirus continues to spread.

Additionally, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says manufacturers will need to ramp up production by 40% if they are to meet global demands.

Strain on supplies

Joe Earl, general manager for Dental Sky, drew comparisons between the current coronavirus strand and the H1N1 flu pandemic – yet admits the situation now is ‘significantly worse’.

He said: ‘We remember experiencing a similar situation during the H1N1 flu pandemic in 2009-2010. Demand for face masks and alcohol hand gels outstripped supplies.

‘However the situation with coronavirus (COVID-19) appears significantly worse in terms of the supply chain strain.

‘WHO warns that there is severe and mounting disruption to the global supply of personal protective equipment.

‘As supplier partners we have a responsibility to support the dental profession in their duty of care.

‘We very quickly stopped accepting any orders for masks and hand gels from anyone except dentists.

‘Our shipments are only coming through gradually so we’re having to allocate them very carefully and cap orders.’

Spike in prices

The supply company says the medical supplies industry is experiencing startling price increases.

Mr Earl added: ‘One notable difference between the situation now and the flu pandemic is the level of blatant and cynical profiteering we’re seeing this time.

‘Our manufacturers inform us that prices are rising. However, the majority of the masks that have been sold this year were purchased before any price rises.

‘We’re experiencing a constant stream of enquiries from all around the world with some people desperately worried about their health.

‘This is sadly against a backdrop of boxes of masks being sold on eBay and Amazon for more than £50.’

WHO reports that prices for surgical face masks have increased sixfold since the outbreak of the virus.

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