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That's the thing. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, we've gone from a nation of picky choosers who prefer to only purchase certain brands to becoming, practically overnight, a country of beggars. We're now desperate to buy any brand or type of tissue, paper towel, or toilet paper, to know we have some in stock. For the first time, at least for most of us in America, we've become a population of people terrified of running out or not having or being able to get something we want or need. It's made some of us hoarders, and most of us scared. So, we eschew our brand favorites and buy almost anything, just so that we have something.

Therein lies the issue. If you prefer Charmin, Bounty, and Kleenex, but have to buy Kirkland or Publix brand, it's no big deal. But what about items that have a medical component to them like hand sanitizer? We know a few of the name brands like Purell, but no one has seen them in stores for months. The trusted brand-name hand sanitizers are used by first responders, medical staff, and healthcare workers, so whatever supplies are available are, rightly so, all going to them.

If you Google "hand sanitizer", you'll see all kinds of results from specialty companies selling eight-ounce bottles for $25 or $30 — if you're lucky. Ads from countless companies— that seem to have popped up overnight to meet our soaring demand— are popping up all over the Internet and in emails. There are so many companies suddenly selling hand sanitizers. They are selling it direct to consumers, and they may be selling it to local retail stores for use by employees or to place on shelves to sell to you.

Now, here's the scary part. Relatively few of those companies are FDA-registered. Many contain toxic chemicals that can cause burns or skin rashes. According to a recent New York Times article, the U.S. government is now tightening restrictions on ethanol-based hand sanitizers — some of which have been found to contain unsafe and even carcinogenic ingredients.

First responders, healthcare professionals, medical facilities, retail businesses, and all of us "regular individuals" all need or want hand sanitizer. So how do you know for sure that the hand-sanitizer you're buying for yourself, your family, your employees, or your customers is safe and effective? It's easy.

Look for an alcohol content of 62-70% to ensure it is a medical-grade product. Most importantly, be certain it is FDA-registered and has an NDC (National Drug Code) number. To best protect your employees and customers if you're a business, order a medical-grade FDA-registered hand sanitizer. If you are a consumer, don't take chances. Buy an FDA-registered, medical-grade hand sanitizer to protect your skin and the health of your family. There are companies out there working hard to deliver these premium types of hand sanitizers to retailers across the U.S. It is available to order and ready to be delivered, and it could be coming to a store near you soon.

In the meantime, stay safe, practice social distancing, and keep on washing your hands for 20 seconds and let’s get back to work.

Mark J. Murphy

Vice President Marketing