Be Aware of PPE Scams, Price Gouging

Staff Writer
Alice Echo News Journal
Physicians should use due diligence and caution when dealing with new suppliers or vendors, especially when using a third-party broker, Attorney General Paxton said.

“As demand for PPE (personal protection equipment) increases, scammers may advertise equipment they do not actually have in attempts to make a quick profit. These PPE products may be counterfeit and mislabeled, and some may not exist at all,” state Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a press release. “Some fraudsters reach out directly to consumers and government entities through email or social media to push their products.”

Physicians should use due diligence and caution when dealing with new suppliers or vendors, especially when using a third-party broker, Attorney General Paxton said.

Red flags include: Unusual payment terms; Last-minute price changes; Last-minute excuses for delay in shipment; Unexplained source of a large quantity of material; and Evidence of re-packaging or mislabeling.

Physicians who believe they have encountered scams or price gouging should call the attorney general’s toll-free complaint line at (800) 621-0508 or file a complaint online.

The Texas Medical Association has created a PPE Portal that physicians can use to inform state-managed warehouses how much PPE your practice needs.

The PPE Portal is available only for licensed Texas physicians (and nursing homes and home health professionals) who are not hospital-based and who cannot obtain PPE through other channels.

The PPE Portal is NOT an order form. Because of the limited supplies and uneven distribution of the PPE, there is no guarantee individual practices will get all – or even some – of what they need.

The data you submit to the TMA PPE Portal are sent to the state’s Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) partners and Regional Advisory Councils (RACs). The state purchases PPE throughout the worldwide supply chain. The HPPs and RACs are responsible for distributing it. They ship PPE allocated for physicians within their regions to local county medical societies, who then distribute it to individual physician practices. The PPE you receive from the RAC or HPP through the TMA PPE Portal will be free.