While the Internet has revolutionized commerce, it also has made it easier for the makers of counterfeit products to produce and sell their wares to unsuspecting clientele. To combat these malicious manufacturers, the United Kingdom’s Medical and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is working with the British Dental Industry Association (BDIA) Counterfeit and Substandard Instruments and Devices Initiative (CSIDI) to promote an awareness campaign targeting dental professionals.
“Dental patients expect quality care, including the standard of the instruments and devices used by dental professionals. It is vital dentists and staff purchase equipment from bona fide suppliers and avoid noncompliant or counterfeit devices,” said Alastair Jeffrey, MHRA head of enforcement. “If they fail when being used, and damage your patient, seemingly cheap devices may end up costing you more in the long run.”
The campaign will include advertising in the dental press, digital outreach, and informative articles. In the last year, the MHRA seized more than 1,900 counterfeit and noncompliant dental devices including handpieces, surgery equipment, and drill bits. Substandard devices can break and shatter while they are being used in the mouth, potentially causing horrific injuries to the patient’s teeth and gums.
In April, authorities in the UK arrested and convicted Dilbar Dishad for the illegal sale and supply of counterfeit dental drills. He was selling these fakes, which were identical to a reputable brand that costs about £335 (about $490), for only £75 (about $110) on eBay. He had purchased them for about £10 (about $15) from a Chinese company and using fake certification stickers to make them appear legitimate.
“The BDIA is delighted that the MHRA is joining the campaign,” said Edmund Proffitt, BDIA’s policy and public affairs director. “Together we can make a real difference educating dentists to the dangers of counterfeit devices, ensuring that they can buy with confidence and eradicating these dangerous and fake products from dentistry.”
Dental professionals are advised to only buy products from reputable dealers, no matter how small, and report suspect products as soon as possible to the MHRA online via its Yellow Card system. Also, the CSIDI offers a free online guide to spotting fake products, an online list of trusted BDIA member vendors, and information on reporting suspect products and other resources, also online.