Going ‘Cheap’ – Financial Pressure in GP Dental Practices
Things are tough at present, the financial pressure is turning up in General Dental Practice and nearly hitting the red for many Principals. We are all looking for ways of cutting costs and purchase of equipment has always been an area where could shop around and cut deals. Now The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the health authority that regulates all medicines and medical devices in the UK, has reminded us of the dangers of buying cheap stuff on the internet and I presume they are talking about Ebay sites based in far off countries.
Thanks to Dental Tribune for the story, the alert went out after it was allegedly reported that a ‘counterfeit’ dental drill shattered while being used on a patient. I’m not sure how that could happen, but apparently it did and both patient and dentist are still recovering from extreme surprise.
According to the MHRA, the number of counterfeit and non-CE-marked dental products sold online has risen significantly in recent years. I have posted before about looking out for the CE mark and it’s fake versions when buying equipment. The medical device CE mark, which is mandatory for certain products sold within the European Economic Area, signifies compliance with the essential safety requirements defined in the European medical device regulations. Devices that do not bear a legitimate CE mark may not have been tested for safety and could fail during use, risking injury to patients and users. However, counterfeit dental medical devices can be difficult to distinguish from genuine devices.
Previously, on ER...
The MHRA has issued a number of warnings about medical devices that could cause serious harm to patients, including alerts about counterfeit dental X-ray machines that emitted harmful levels of radiation and counterfeit dental curing lights that could result in poor quality fillings.
The agency recommends that dentists only buy medical devices from legitimate manufacturers and suppliers, who can demonstrate that the necessary legal requirements are being met. A list of legitimate sources for dental devices can be found on the British Dental Industry Association’s website.
The MHRA has also taken action to close down over 1,200 illicit websites selling counterfeit and unlicensed medicines during 2013. Products for a range of conditions such as cancer, diabetes, arthritis and hair loss were being offered without the need for a prescription or any medical supervision. There is now a danger that the very lucrative market for Botox and Fillers will attract these on-line sellers. Be very careful about buying any product to be used on patients from companies that have addresses in places that are not easily accessible to go and knock on their door if you have problems!
*All information is correct at the time of publishing