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Unregulated Dental Equipment – Low Prices Too Good to be True?
The bitterness of poor quality equipment remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.
Dental practices are reminded of their responsibility to ensure that they only use safe and suitable equipment in their provision of dental care. This statement is highlighted both in the General Dental Council Standards and also Care Quality Commission Essential Standards.
A boom in online shopping has provided easy and convenient access to websites registered in the UK and overseas which sell a whole range of dental equipment and materials. Whilst the low prices may appear tempting, these products are often non-regulated and substandard. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has issued warnings to dental practitioners, especially when purchasing dental products from auction sites. They have particularly highlighted products imported from China and Pakistan with the real concern that the products are highly sophisticated in relation to CE marks, serial numbers and even holographic labels which are designed to mislead consumers. Clearly non-complaint devices and materials are a danger to both patients and staff so caution and discretion is advised when purchasing from such sites. Popular non-compliant products purchased online include scaling units, handpieces, root canal files, curing lights and x-ray machines. In January 2016 the GDC took action and imposed conditions on a registrant for purchasing and using non-compliant handpieces.
Those responsible for purchasing of dental products should exercise extreme caution and be aware of market prices and established manufacturers. Where prices appear to be drastically reduced further investigations are advised as to supply chain and originality. Product serial numbers batch codes and model identifiers can be checked with manufacturers to verify authenticity and supply chains. In order to avoid harm to staff and patients, and also investigations from regulators, it is wise to buy from reputable suppliers.
The old adage of 'if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is' will serve you well.
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