U.K. regulators cracking down on sale of fake devices

In keeping with its recently amended anti-counterfeiting strategy, the U.K.'s drug and device watchdog is homing in on fake thermometers, some of the many bogus devices sold online that can imperil patients.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) conducted raids around the country, collecting more than 400 counterfeit thermometers sold online for less than a pound (around $1.55) in some cases, The Telegraph reports. The process is illegal, of course, but the fake devices also pose dangers to patients. The MHRA launched its investigation after a pediatric leukemia patient needed urgent care, despite a seemingly normal temperature reading from what turned out to be a fake thermometer, according to The Telegraph.

The agency's latest efforts have nabbed other fakes, too, including children's cooling pads and electronic exercise aids. Counterfeiters often use eBay to hock the bogus devices, and the MHRA is working with the website's staff to root out potentially dangerous activity, The Telegraph reports.

In May, the agency revised its policies for tracking and publicizing counterfeit drugs and devices, bringing the U.K.'s formerly lax standards in line with the rest of the European Union. Regulators have said they're focused on quick, efficient investigations of suspect medical products, aiming to keep faulty wares away from patients as much as possible. 

When it comes to spotting fake devices, the agency advises consumers to look for missing safety warnings, instructions, CE marks and batch identification numbers. And, as most counterfeit devices are peddled on the Internet, the MHRA warns consumers to look especially closely at products available at bargain-basement prices. 

- read The Telegraph story