Why buyers should be aware about the legality of medical supplies purchased online

Availability of online medical supplies has undoubtedly enhanced the distribution and reach of medical supply companies. It has also become convenient for small consumers and institutional buyers to make online purchases after scanning through huge inventory of various products that are on display. This saves the time of shopping around physically as online comparisons of similar products from various suppliers is also possible.  Since many of the medical products and consumables are under the regulatory control of the FDA it is implied that the online sellers abide by the legal requirements associated with the products. In other words, whatever is sold online is deemed to be legally approved by the FDA. However, this does not lessen the liability of buyers who are also responsible for buying only legally approved items.

Buyers need to be aware

Online medical supplies can include anything from equipment and medical devices to instruments and consumables like masks, bands and gloves should always ensure that they buy items that are legal only. Without intending to undermine the integrity of the sellers, buyers should always be alert to protect their own interests. The awareness is also very important from the point that something that is legal today might not be so in future. Powdered surgical gloves that are widely used by medical professionals are one such product that have been under the scrutiny of the FDA and has been banned very recently.

Ban on powdered gloves

On January 18, 2017 The FDA ruled that any gloves including surgical gloves that uses powder has been banned.  The ruling has come effective from the same date. If you have purchased powdered gloves on that date or even after it, you risk violation of the law and even get exposed to health risks as will be explained in the subsequent paragraphs. The ban is applicable for powdered gloves used by surgeons and for examination and even the adsorbable powder used in the gloves.

Reason for ban

Surgical gloves ensure protection of both healthcare personnel and patients from transmission of contaminants and infectious diseases during a surgical procedure as well as when conducting examinations on patients. Gloves are made from natural rubber latex of various grades that tend to stick between interfacing surfaces. This makes it difficult for users to slide it easily over the hands.  Adsorbable powder was used as a lubricant between the surfaces of the gloves so that it becomes easy to wear and remove. FDA has found the powder to have adverse impact on health that might cause inflammation on the skin and complications can arise from surgery due to peritoneal adhesions. Sensitization of gloves users as well as patients to allergens of natural rubber latex has also been the cause for banning it. However, powdered radiographic protection gloves are exempted from the ban.

Knowing about the ban would help buyers of online medical supplies to choose products that comply with all legal requirements. This would in turn promote proper healthcare standards as envisaged by FDA.

Author: Robin Gupta