MHRA seizes fake thermometers over meningitis concerns
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has issued a warning to parents about the dangers of cheap digital thermometers that are being sold on the internet.
Over 400 fake thermometers were seized by the MHRA after two raids were carried out in England, in Harrow and Oxford.
The MHRA says the digital thermometers pose a significant risk to children, as they give inaccurate readings and could fail to spot high temperatures in those with serious illnesses, such as meningitis.
According to the Agency, some of the fake items are being sold for just 99 pence and are mainly available through online auction sites such as eBay.
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It was alerted to the problem when the parents of a young child with leukaemia used a digital thermometer they used online gave them a normal temperature reading.
However, the child had to be rushed to hospital for urgent medical care because they actually had a high temperature, which the thermometer failed to pick up.
The MHRA has now issued advice to parents – and the public in general – about what to look out for when buying a digital thermometer online.
It said devices that were counterfeit would have no recognised brand name and may not come with instructions, safety warnings, or the relevant CE markings.
Genuine products would also have a four digit ID number, to show that it had been properly safety tested.
Fake digital thermometers would not have this four digit code, the MHRA says.
Commenting on the scam, the Deputy Clinical Director of the MHRA, Dr Dr Nicola Lennard, said: “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.”
The seizure of the digital thermometers is part of a much wider operation the MHRA is carrying out into counterfeit healthcare products.
It has already obtained three fake Slendertone belts, which are used to tone the abdominal muscles, and a number of Kiddicare cool pads.
The MHRA is asking people to report suspected fake healthcare products to its Adverse Incident Hotline on 020 3080 6080.
This can also be done through its website, http://www.mhra.gov.uk/.
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Introducing Dosis - the AI powered dosing platform
Cloud-based platform Dosis uses AI to help patients and clinicians tailor their medication plans. Shivrat Chhabra, CEO and co-founder, tells us how it works.
When and why was Dosis founded?
Divya, my co-founder and I founded Dosis in 2017 with the purpose of creating a personalised dosing platform. We see personalisation in so many aspects of our lives, but not in the amount of medication we receive. We came across some research at the University of Louisville that personalised the dosing of a class of drugs called ESAs that are used to treat chronic anaemia. We thought, if commercialised, this could greatly benefit the healthcare industry by introducing precision medicine to drug dosing.
The research also showed that by taking this personalised approach, less drugs were needed to achieve the same or better outcomes. That meant that patients were exposed to less medication, so there was a lower likelihood of side effects. It also meant that the cost of care was reduced.
What is the Strategic Anemia Advisor?
Dosis’s flagship product, Strategic Anemia Advisor (SAA), personalises the dosing of Erythropoiesis Stimulating Agents (ESAs). ESAs are a class of drugs used to treat chronic anaemia, a common complication of chronic kidney disease.
SAA takes into account a patient’s previous ESA doses and lab levels, determines the patient’s unique response to the drug and outputs an ESA dose recommendation to keep the patient within a specified therapeutic target range. Healthcare providers use SAA as a clinical decision support tool.
What else is Dosis working on?
In the near term, we are working on releasing a personalised dosing module for IV iron, another drug that’s used in tandem with ESAs to treat chronic anaemia. We’re also working on personalising the dosing for the three drugs used to treat Mineral Bone Disorder. We’re very excited to expand our platform to these new drugs.
What are Dosis' strategic goals for the next 2-3 years?
We strongly believe that personalised dosing will be the standard of care within the next decade, and we’re honored to be a part of making that future a reality. In the next few years, we see Dosis entering partnerships with other companies that operate within value-based care environments, where tools like ours that help reduce cost while maintaining or improving outcomes are extremely useful.
What do you think AI's greatest benefits to healthcare are?
If designed well, AI in healthcare allows for a practical and usable way to deploy solutions that would not be feasible otherwise. For example, it’s possible for someone to manually solve the mathematical equations necessary to personalise drug dosing, but it is just not practical. AI in healthcare offers an exciting path forward for implementing solutions that for so long have appeared impractical or impossible.