Barbarians at the Gate - A Fist Fight for Nitrile Gloves

How do you know you’re getting Non-Counterfeit Nitrile Gloves from a Trusted Supplier?

Healthcare providers need a trusted and dedicated supplier that will fight to ensure that your high-demand PPE is delivered. And by fight, we mean a full-blown fist fight, which happened when China-based team members from Aiden Health, a supplier in the OpenMarkets Community, stood tall to secure a nitrile glove order for Naperville-Il based Edward Elmhurst Health.

It’s yet another example of the turbulence in the PPE market as supplies run scarce and demand continues to increase. Demand for nitrile gloves is sky-high right now due to the COVID-19 outbreak – and it doesn’t look to let up any time soon given the gloving requirements around vaccination. All over the globe, healthcare facilities are experiencing glove shortages and are left to ration supplies and pay high prices to source necessary PPE. Counterfeiters have created a black market for gloves by sourcing large quantities of uncertified, poor quality gloves and repackaging them. Gloves are even being bribed off factory workers as shipments come out to be shipped. However, Aiden Health’s team is willing to throw a punch to protect your supply of nitrile exam gloves.

The Nitrile Glove Deal

Edward Elmhurst Health, among many other healthcare professionals, was experiencing a glove shortage and turned to OpenMarkets for possible suppliers and options.

Edward Elmhurst submitted their request on the OpenMarkets Exchange and within hours was connected with several different suppliers that provided different quotes and information. 

Jacob from Aiden Health responded promptly to the request with a quote attached. He explained pricing and payment options for paying upfront or when the shipment is received and noted the shipment methods. Additionally, Jacob provided several references to other healthcare purchasing authorities and health systems.

The Supply Chain Director at Edward Elmhurst asked if the order could only contain certain sizes of gloves and responded with questions about whether the gloves were 100% nitrile or a blend. Within an hour, Jacob had adjusted the quote for the sizes requested and responded with clarifications to Matthew’s questions that the gloves were 100% chemo tested nitrile gloves. He even offered to send over gloves samples from the manufacturer that were quoted.

Edward Elmhurst Health had a time-sensitive request, with a specific lead time. Jacob’s responsiveness paired with a full knowledge of certifications, references, and quality products that sealed the deal.

Price, lead times, and quantity were important factors when Edward Elmhurst choose to purchase nitrile gloves, but here’s why certifications and a track record of successful deliveries were the deciding factors. 

The Black Market for Nitrile Gloves 

“Global demand for medical-grade exam gloves may reach 560 billion individual gloves over the next 12 months, but total production is estimated to fall short by about 260 billion units, according to Vizient.” Alex Kacik, Moden Healthcare

Medical nitrile gloves are a unique commodity in that they are both highly regulated (they require FDA 510k clearance) and cheap. Due to the extreme spike in demand for nitrile gloves, fraudulent and counterfeit gloves abound. Raw materials – in particular butadiene nitrile rubber, used to make nitrile gloves are being depleted as prices continue to increase, resulting in even further supply chain issues. Counterfeiters found an opportunity when FDA 510k approved factories were unable to keep up with supply. 

Low quality, uncertified, and even used, nitrile gloves are sourced in bulk by counterfeiters to be repackaged for sale under popular brand names. In China, factories sell nitrile gloves with quality issues, ranging from size and texture inconsistencies to gloves that won’t open, in bulk at a reduced price. Third parties sort through the gloves to salvage the “useable” gloves without assurance of quality standards. Warnings signs include:

  • Multiple color shades in the same box
  • Fewer than 100 gloves per box
  • Too many marks or pinholes on the glove
  • Mixed sizes in the same box

Download Aiden Health’s Guide on What to Consider When Buying Nitrile Gloves

Other factories without FDA 510k certification will repackage their unqualified gloves with the certifications. Used gloves are even being bought, washed, and sometimes powdered (powder-free nitrile gloves should not be!) to be repackaged. 

It’s easy to print cardboard boxes, so counterfeit producers have learned to match lot numbers and carton weights on printed boxes of established brands in the US. 

Aiden Health understands the malpractices happening within the glove market and is quick to provide the information and references needed to assure the quality of the gloves you quoted. However, Aiden Health recommends inspections of your received products. Read more on how to spot a counterfeit glove, Inside the Black Market for Nitrile Gloves.


The Fight 

The demand for gloves has been so high that at the end of the shift when gloves are shipped out of the factory, oftentimes there are buyers standing at the gate trying to buy (or steal) the gloves off the manufacturers. Aiden Health is aware of these risk factors to potential loss of their requested supply and has team members in China and Vietnam personally attending shipments from the factories to ensure the right product ships – and isn’t swapped out for counterfeit goods after it leaves the factory.

During this particular order for Edward Elmhurst, Aiden’s team arrived at the factory to pick up the order and realized a broker was in the process of bribing the local officials for the gloves. Neither side was backing down and the aggressor tried to physically take control of the gloves. Note there is no chivalry – Aiden’s team was all female, and the opposition male – yet the punches came just the same!

After the gloves left the factory, Aiden ensured the chain of custody was sound with video or photo documentation at every step of the way, and recorded the personal ID information of every driver and supply chain worker who interacted with the shipment.

The OpenMarkets Exchange makes connecting providers to trusted suppliers simple, especially as many providers have had to turn to alternative solutions during the pandemic. Quotes, lead times, and payment options are provided, information is exchanged, and your nitrile gloves are sourced and delivered. However, the OpenMarkets Exchange does not show the efforts of suppliers, like Aiden Health, who have gone to extreme lengths to source your gloves and keep your communities properly supplied.

About Author

Tom Derrick
Tom Derrick

Tom leads a range of core functions for OpenMarkets, including strategic partnerships and business development. Prior to OpenMarkets, Tom served as a senior communications director for a rapidly growing medical device manufacturer, and as a D.C.-based public relations director conducting advocacy for the orthotic and prosthetic community. Tom is a co-founder of OpenMarkets. He has degrees from Wake Forest and DePaul Universities.

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