UK dentists warned about fake equipment

Dental drillA campaign to raise awareness of counterfeit dental equipment will start next month in the UK after a big seizure in 2014.

The campaign will be run jointly by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and British Dental Industry Association (BDIA) and will advise dentists to check their equipment and consumables come from reliable suppliers, reports the Guardian newspaper.

 In October, it was reported that more than 12,000 counterfeit and illegal items of dental equipment – including drills and handheld X-ray machines – had been seized in the prior six months and the MHRA warned at the time that dentists could be open to prosecution if they knowingly used unsafe items.

The seizures included 24 dental X-ray machines that emit high levels of radiation, 384 hand-piece drills that could malfunction and disintegrate inside patient’s mouths, and 3,242 poor quality root canal files that could break.

About 40 per cent were counterfeit while 60 per cent were non-compliant with European medical device regulations.

Some of the illicit goods were marked with the letters CE which would imply they meet EU standards but – according to some importers – actually stands for “Chinese export.” They originated from countries such as China and Pakistan and were typically dols through online marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay and Alibaba.

A month later, the General Dental Council (GDC) issued statement reminding all registrants of the need to ensure they follow the appropriate procedures when purchasing dental equipment as counterfeits “can be potentially dangerous to patients and dental staff using them.”

The awareness campaign will run in specialist dental magazines from February.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock / milosljubicic

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