Everyday dental professionals use medical-grade gloves. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic these gloves have become increasing harder to keep in stock. Not only that, there has been a dramatic price increase and it doesn’t look like it will be slowing down anytime soon. Some reasons for this might be obvious but we are here to breakdown some of the specific factors which have contributed to this.
Labour and Manufacturing
The pandemic has led to the need of social distancing within manufacturing plants, restricting production and causing some plants to temporarily shut down because of outbreaks, further adding to an increasing need for gloves globally. If there are staff in the plant, the number of people has been drastically reduced leading to a decrease in glove production.
Since the beginning of the pandemic the demand for medical-grade gloves has increased within professional industry and personal use. In particular, nitrile gloves are in high demand because people are less likely to be allergic to them and they are much more durable than the traditional latex glove. The demand has just put more pressure on supply shortage and logistics.
Because of travel and export restrictions caused by the pandemic it is harder to find containers being shipped globally. If you are able to secure this, the price has been dramatically increased. This along with the increased restrictions makes it difficult to secure freight from Southeast Asia leading to major delays. In most cases, freight costs have increased as much as 4 times pre-pandemic rates.
Since March of 2020, the raw materials which make gloves, such as nitrile and latex, has doubled in price. Even with the price increase, there is not enough raw material to keep up with the demand of gloves. Manufacturers are constantly searching for different material or supply to be able to keep up with demand.
In conclusion, there are a number of factors that are leading to a medical-grade glove shortage and the price increase. Many predict that prices will continue to rise in the first half of this year then begin to stabilize through the remainder of the year. If the market stabilizes in 2021, we may see some decrease in pricing in 2022. It is forecasted that global supply will not exceed demand again until the end of 2022 or beginning of 2023.