After recent findings by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) found that several types of illegal, potentially dangerous digital thermometers are being sold on the internet, it’s advise all consumers to take extreme caution when ordering testing equipment online.
The MHRA also reported that they’ve seized other forms of fake equipment, including imitations of cooling pads and Slendertone devices that are designed to tone stomach muscles. This latter item in particular is worrying as it applies electrical stimulus to the stomach and could prove a significant hazard to the user.
The digital thermometers, which are primarily designed for use with children, were flagged up as a hazard after a couple’s child, who suffers from Leukaemia, had to be rushed to hospital after gaining incorrect readings from the fake thermometers. The child was running an extremely high fever at the time, and the thermometer should have informed the parents that medical attention was immediately required.
The store was reported to the MHRA through their incident centre, and the organisation took steps to stop the spread of these devices to other households.
Dr Hilary Jones, who is a television doctor known for his appearances on GMTV and other programmes, said it is very important for parents to pay attention to the warnings of the MHRA.
“High temperatures in children can be a sign of serious illness and these raids by the MHRA show why it is so important that people are aware that fake thermometers and other fake medical equipment are being sold cheaply on the internet.
“I support the MHRA’s efforts to ensure that people are using safe and effective medical equipment.”
Any form of testing equipment such as this should always come from a fully certified supplier. It is believed that a lot of the thermometers were sold through eBay purchases and the MHRA is working closely with the auction site to clamp down on sales of medical equipment from uncertified suppliers.
Over the past few months the MHRA has also conducted a number of other raids around the country, including in Harrow, Yorkshire, Halifax, Nottingham, Gloucester and many more. It’s a jarring statistic that shows how this problem is becoming more widespread across the UK.
Since the thermometers are sold for a fraction of the recommended retail price (around 99 pence at the cheapest), many consumers think they’re getting a bargain. It may look appealing to buy something so inexpensive, but it’s always important to remember that there’s usually a reason for the seemingly huge reductions, and it generally isn’t a good one.
Genuine digital thermometers should always have a recognisable brand name, come with a certified ‘CE’ safety rating and be provided with instruction manuals. It’s recommend that anyone considering buying a piece of medical equipment online makes sure the seller is an accredited seller of the devices; without this certification you could be buying potentially dangerous equipment that could harm you, your partner and even your children somewhere down the line. It always pays to pay the little extra from a certified supplier rather than dealing with those selling equipment for dubiously cheap prices.
Dr Nicola Lennard, the MHRA’s deputy clinical director outlined the problem further. “Inaccurate readings from cheap, fake thermometers could result in a delay to a child getting the medical treatment they need and it is vital that people do not buy or use cheap, unapproved medical devices”.
“The MHRA is working with internet sites to ensure that fake medical devices are not sold to people, and we urge the public to report faulty medical devices.”
Medical and electrical testing equipment, or anything where the accuracy is very important, should always be purchased from a reputable dealer. It’s advised you visit the manufacturers site for a list of official distributors.
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