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MHRA warns dental professionals against purchasing poor quality equipment

Dental tools

11 October 2016

Leo Briggs, DDU dento-legal adviser

Dental professionals should be wary of purchasing counterfeit and unapproved dental equipment from auction websites as it may put the safety of their patients at risk.

The DDU is warning its members to be cautious when purchasing dental equipment online following advice from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and British Dental Industry Association (BDIA) this week.

According to the MHRA, in the last year it has seized more than 1,900 counterfeit and non-compliant dental devices including dental hand pieces, burs and other dental equipment. The cheap devices, being sold via the internet, can break and shatter while in the mouth, potentially causing horrific damage to the teeth and gums.

The BDIA has developed a guide 'How to spot a fake' to help dental professionals avoid inadvertently purchasing non-compliant or counterfeit equipment.

The MHRA has also produced detailed guidelines to help healthcare organisations establish proper systems for the safe acquisition, deployment, maintenance and disposal of medical equipment.

DDU advice

Dental professionals who fail to ensure equipment is safe for patients and staff could find themselves in difficulty with regulatory bodies. For example, the GDC requires dental professionals to follow laws and regulations relating to medical devices and failure to do so could result in a fitness to practise investigation. In addition, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) could take enforcement action against dental practices in England which fall short of its essential standards in relation to the "safety, availability and suitability of equipment". 

To uphold the highest standards of patient safety, dental professionals should ensure their equipment is of good quality and is regularly serviced and maintained. Dental professionals can report counterfeit or unapproved dental equipment to the MHRA's Adverse Incident Centre at or 020 3080 7080.

This guidance was correct at publication 11/10/2016. It is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.


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