The BDIA, which represents dental traders has created a manifesto calling for Government support in putting a stop to the fraudulent activity. They point out that the annual value of the dental products and equipment market is £400m and using these materials, dentists treat 30 million NHS patients per year.
How many private patients are treated annually, I wonder? The latest figures from the National Association of Specialist Dental Accountants press release here – show that the average private dentist earned more than their NHS counterpart in the year 2013-14 and the average spend on dental materials and laboratory fees for the principal of a private practice was £55k. We are talking about significant sums of money.
Clearly, the appearance of bargains on the internet would be tempting for a principal with a keen eye for the bottom line. But these fake products are not bargains, they are counterfeit products which represent a risk to both the patient and the dental team. Apparently, The Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has seized thousands of products including high speed drills, X-ray machines and root canal files which carry bogus approval markings and are for sale on sites like eBay and Amazon.
As part of its manifesto, the BDIA is calling for the MHRA to remain fully funded by the Government. A levy on the medical and dental devices industry to top up Government funding has been mooted but this is opposed by BDIA. Their manifesto says: We believe that full, direct Government funding of the MHRA is the most efficient method of safeguarding patients and the medical devices industry, both of which could be jeopardised should additional costs be imposed on industry.
Tony Reed, Chief Executive of the BDIA speaking publicly recently said: Now, more than ever, it is important to know not just what you are buying but also where you are buying from. That all-important link between supplier and user allows certainty of provenance and the peace of mind that this can bring.
I think we would all say Amen to that. This is an important campaign and a reminder of how adept criminals are at exploiting any opportunity, regardless of the risk to others.