Disposable Gloves: do your cost savings stack up?

17 December 2020

Disposable gloves: do your cost savings stack up?

Cost is always a factor in any purchasing decision. With products such as disposable gloves and PPE, there has previously been little reason to think past price. However, as the global pandemic has led to a surge in demand for disposable gloves worldwide, the need for quality assured PPE is all the more essential to our front line health workers. In this article, we uncover the true cost of cheap disposable gloves and why its always valuable to invest in quality over price concessions.

Now more than ever, healthcare professionals require gloves that provide a high level of barrier protection – alongside the need for both comfort and dexterity. Low quality gloves that tear on application cause frustration, lose valuable time and ultimately waste money. Cheap gloves are cheap for a reason.

Some factors to consider when faced with a price vs quality situation:

1. Frauds and fake agents selling fraudulent, unvalidated product.
Surging demand for disposable gloves, has led to thousands of people being left victim to fraudulent and faulty product. The Wall Street Journal recently published an article on fake versions of ‘nitrile’ or synthetic rubber gloves – with fake agents in some cases publishing fraudulent letters from glove manufacturers. The value of undergoing extensive validation with suppliers cannot be underestimated and is the only way to guarantee a risk free supply chain with full traceability. A well known method by some manufacturers of reducing their costs is to include 5-10 less gloves per box and/or include a number of defective goods. If you are offered gloves for extremely low prices it is often a huge signal of counterfeit product and whilst there is no concrete data on glove prices, continuing waves of Covid-19 infection is seeing prices jumping to around $15 for a box of 100 gloves.

2. Possibility of faulty product, unsuitable for use
To combat the price war, quality and production has been sacrificed to create disposable gloves that fit only the price bracket – even the size of packaging has been minimised to reduce shipping costs. Ultimately this has resulted in gloves being packed tightly into small boxes – causing gloves to stick together, resulting in poor dispensing, ripped gloves and multiple gloves being dispensed at once. Considering the cost of glove failure is paramount when looking to purchase disposable gloves – important factors include ripping, double donning, multiple dispense and contamination. Failing gloves reduce efficiencies, increase glove usage and wastage. These factors have huge knock on effects on increased freight, storage and disposal costs.

3. Unsuitable manufacturing standards and supplier ethics
Cheap gloves are generally manufactured in low standard, unverified factories with huge amounts of manual labour involved. Recent factory audits and investigations have revealed endemic and serious labour rights abuse of factories around the world. It’s essential to ensure your supply chain aligns with your ethics – click here to see how Santé methodology eliminates the risk of fraudulent, faulty or fake products through our fundamental 6 Pillars of Trust. If your glove provider is auditing manufacturers responsibly, they should be able to substantiate information and certification to ensure they aren’t violating human rights through child/slave labour or alternatively producing poor quality product. There are several standards defining requirements and test methods for disposable gloves – read more here to find a general view of all current standards and categories.

4. Low quality raw materials
Gloves manufactured from cheap, low-quality materials can commonly cause skin allergies. Comprehensive studies and research have proved that the chemical accelerators and other additives commonly used in the production of nitrile and latex gloves can cause allergic reactions for individuals, particularly when using poor quality materials. The use of fillers in disposable gloves helps to reduce the cost, however anything above 15% can be detrimental to both the performance and quality of the glove in use.

Often when faced with purchasing decisions, we prioritise price over value – especially with commodity items like disposable gloves. Surge in demand for the product has only heightened the need to ensure suppliers are fully validated and compliant through extensive risk-mitigation strategies. At Santé we are able to guarantee the best value for disposable gloves – quality, competitively priced products that are responsibly and ethically sourced.

We trust you find this update beneficial – our glove support team  are waiting to help you should you have any questions.