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Japanese dentists pay more for dental crown ingredient palladium

The date of: 2022-03-22
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Japanese dentists pay more for dental crown ingredient palladium due to economic sanctions on Russia



apanese dentists are now paying far more for palladium, a rare earth metal that is an essential ingredient for making dental crowns, due to economic sanctions imposed against Russia due to its Ukraine invasion.

Russia accounts for about 40 percent of the global palladium production.

The price of the alloy containing palladium has skyrocketed over fears of supply chain disruptions as a result of the sanctions.

In mid-December, the purchase price of palladium per 30 grams was 77,770 yen ($653), including tax. As of March 9, the price of palladium per 30 grams had surged to 125,400 yen.

According to Toshiaki Tanaka, a director of the prefectural association of doctors and dentists in Kanagawa, the dentists are not being reimbursed for their additional costs under the national medical insurance system.

Dentists prefer an alloy of gold, silver, and palladium in fashioning a dental crown due to the alloy’s strength and durability when patients want treatment covered by national health insurance.

Dental crowns that do not contain palladium are not as strong and tend to discolor over time.

Medical institutions do not get reimbursed in medical fees due to a rise in materials when they give treatment covered by the national health program because the fees are fixed.

The current material fee for the alloy using palladium is 88,530 yen per 30 grams even after the purchase price increased by 30,000 yen.

Tanaka expressed concern that the increased cost may prompt some people to put off going to a dentist, even though they are in desperate need of treatment, and called on the government to take emergency steps to resolve the problem. He suggested that a provision like a government subsidy to rein in gasoline prices be made available for palladium.

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