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In October last year, we ran an article about the practice of fake dental devices being sold online. The sale of fake dental equipment online continues to be a problem for the UK authorities and the MHRA has seized faulty equipment during two separate inspections this year already. The dentist who repeatedly bought and used the counterfeit devices has been suspended by the General Dental Council (GDC). Tahir Hamza Sheikh sourced the counterfeit devices, which included various types of hand pieces, from an unidentified online auction.

The first MHRA inspection was triggered following concerns about a dental device Sheikh had sent for repair. The second inspection happened when MHRA officers identified further purchases made by Sheikh from the same online auction site.

The British Dental Industry Association (BDIA) have said this case “highlights the dangers to both patient and professional registration from using counterfeit and non-compliant devices”.

They added “It also reinforces the need to exercise common sense and care when purchasing dental equipment and to have adequate systems in place to ensure that equipment is genuine, compliant and safe to use”.

Safety can only be ensured with careful purchasing and the BDIA recommend any purchases are sourced from reputable suppliers and that all suspect items are reported to the appropriate authorities promptly.

The BDIA are keen to set high standards and anticipate that this suspension will deter any more dentists from sourcing equipment from illicit websites. CEO Edmund Proffitt says the suspension “may sound alarm bells for any dentists who may have purchased from unreliable sources and emphasises the importance of purchasing from reputable suppliers”.

Last October the MHRA announced they had seized more than 1,900 counterfeit and non-compliant dental devices in 2016, including dental hand pieces, dental surgery equipment and drill bits. The regulator said these devices “can break and shatter while in the mouth, potentially causing horrific damage to teeth and gums”.

They also seized more than 100 non-compliant and counterfeit items of dental equipment from 14 Tooth Booth practices across the South East of England, following an investigation into Hounslow dentist Fazin Tahir.

The BDIA has been working closely with the MHRA to ensure all members of the dental community are aware of the authenticity of the items they source and where they source them from “In today’s marketplace it is essential to protect patients and colleagues by ensuring everyone knows the provenance of the products they purchase”.

The BDIA recommends all members of the dental care team report anything suspect at www.bdia.org.uk/device-reporting.