Additionally, distributors have been working with healthcare providers to determine supply availability, identify appropriate product substitutions, vet alternative suppliers and project estimated delivery dates.
Most of these new brokers had no experience in healthcare supply chains. They sourced products of unknown quality, including counterfeit products, from unknown vendors and auctioned those products to the highest bidder, creating a pricing frenzy artificially inflating the cost of the authentic product and consuming raw materials that could have been used for established high quality products. Often, these brokers failed to deliver the promised products.
The increase in fraudulent activity dealing with the purchase of pandemic-related supplies even prompted the FBI and other government agencies to step in. In March, the FBI asked the medical community to exercise due diligence and appropriate action "when dealing with any vendors with whom they have never worked and/or of which they’ve never heard, and when relying on unidentified third-party brokers in the supply chain."