Blood oxygen tests falsely claimed to be ‘NHS approved’ have been removed from Amazon, eBay and Wish following an investigation by the consumer watchdog.
Pulse oximeters became popular during the pandemic among Covid patients and those recovering from the virus to monitor their oxygen levels.
But an investigation by which? It found 11 out of 15 devices it looked at on the web did not meet UK health requirements.
Some don’t have the correct CE marking – indicating they’ve been tested by medical professionals – or are completely missing.
Many of the devices, which cost just 99p, are said to have been approved by the NHS or use the health service’s logo on their packaging.
Amazon, eBay and Wish have removed the devices from their websites after being contacted by which?.
But the consumer watchdog said that was ‘not good enough’ and called for tougher laws to prevent online companies from marketing these products.
Blood oxygen meters became popular during the pandemic for Covid patients and those recovering from the virus to monitor their blood oxygen levels. But which one? investigation found that 11 out of 15 devices sold by online retailers did not meet UK requirements (above)
Pictured above is a UK Fingertip Oxygen Meter sold on eBay that does not meet the regulations. It has a label saying it is ‘NHS approved’, but health bosses point out that the health service has not approved any medical products sold in the UK
Another device that violates the regulations is the smart pulse oximeter Bee sold on Amazon. This also does not have the correct CE marking, which is required for all medical products sold in the UK and is also declared ‘NHS approved’
Pulse oximeters work by clamping on someone’s finger and shining infrared and red light through the body to measure blood oxygen levels.
Blood that contains more oxygen absorbs more infrared light and allows more red light to pass through it. Insufficient blood is the opposite.
The NHS is now offering them to over-65s and vulnerable patients who have tested positive for Covid but are not so sick that they need hospital care.
Which devices have been investigated by which?
The following 11 devices were found not to meet the UK medical requirements for sale:
- Bee Smart Pulse Oximeter, £12.99, buy from Amazon. Does not meet required CE standards. Declared ‘NHS approved’.
- Kamrose Pulse Oximeter, £7.99, buy from Amazon. Does not meet required CE standards.
- Tanness Finger Pulse Oximeter, £5.99, buy from Amazon. Does not meet required CE standards.
- UK fingertip oximeter, £0.99, buy from eBay. Does not meet required CE standards. Declared ‘NHS approved’.
- Unbranded finger pulse oximeter, £4.66, buy from Wish. Does not meet required CE standards.
- Pulse oximeter M260, £5, purchased from Wish. Does not meet required CE standards.
- OEM pulse oximeter, bought from eBay. Was removed by the seller during the investigation. Does not meet CE standards.
- Unbranded fingertip oxygen meter, purchased from eBay. Deleted during investigation. Does not meet required CE standards.
- Unlabelled pulse oximeter (x3), purchased from Wish. Deleted during investigation. Failure to meet required safety standards.
What? looked at 15 devices as part of an investigation in January, at the height of the Omicron wave.
All devices pass accuracy tests to measure blood oxygen levels, Which one? speak.
But 10 out of 15 have the non-conforming CE marking, while others don’t.
These are legal requirements for medical devices sold in the UK.
Some devices sold on Amazon and eBay also claim that they are ‘NHS approved’.
One of the devices that did not meet the UK requirements was the Kamrose Pulse Oximeter, sold on Amazon.
The £7.99 device has a 4.5-star rating out of 694 reviews and can Ordered for next day delivery on Prime.
The Bee Smart Oximeter received a four-star rating from 64 similar reviews that did not meet the requirements.
It’s already on sale on Amazon for £12.99 and is available through Prime.
A listing for the UK 99p Fingertip Oximeter on eBay shows it has sold 5 times in the last 24 hours.
Natalie Hitchins, head of home products and services at which?, said it was ‘disturbing’ that the devices were unbranded and ‘brazen’ claimed to be NHS approved approved sold in the UK.
She said: ‘Which one? argues that the Government needs to do more to protect consumers from the lack of effective protections when they shop online by introducing tougher regulations for online marketplaces.
‘Consumers should be wary of cheap oxygen meters sold online.’
After finishing their investigation, which one? received another email from Amazon advertising other medical devices claimed to be ‘NHS approved’.
The Department of Health and Social Care said: ‘The NHS does not approve or endorse any medical equipment, including oximeters.
‘The Department strictly controls NHS identity and takes the unauthorized use or modification of the NHS logo and letters ‘NHS’ very seriously.
‘As we bring our attention to the issues surrounding the abuse of NHS identities and brands, we actively investigate and will not hesitate to take necessary action if unauthorized use is detected.’
An Amazon spokesperson said it had ‘proactive measures’ in place to prevent suspicious or non-compliant products from being listed.
They added: ‘When appropriate, we remove products from stores, contact sellers, manufacturers and government agencies for more information or take other actions. “
Asked why it was listing NHS-approved products, a spokesperson said: ‘We’ve removed the products you’ve flagged and asked the seller to provide relevant supporting evidence for their statements.’
An eBay spokesperson added: ‘We have strict policies in place to regulate the sale of medical devices and have removed the only listing flagged by which? do not comply with these policies.
‘However, we are happy to investigate which?’ Show that the majority of products purchased on eBay meet relevant safety and performance standards. ‘
In selling ‘NHS approved’ products, eBay said: ‘These items violate our medical device policy, which states that when listing medical device products on eBay, The seller must comply with the labeling requirements applicable to the packaging and the Instructions for Use (IFU).
‘We have removed these items from the site.’
Wish says: ‘All of our sellers must comply with local laws whenever selling on our platform, as noted in Wish’s Terms of Service and Merchant Policy. .
‘After learning that these two listings were in breach of UK legal standards, in breach of our terms and policies, we promptly removed the listings from the platform in accordance with local law. ‘
Source: | This article originally belonged to dailymail.co.uk