Investigators have seized hundreds of fake digital thermometers amid fears inaccurate readings could pose a serious threat to small children with meningitis.
More than 400 cheap imitations were collected following raids in Harrow and Oxford by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Bogus digital thermometers are often sold online for just 99p and can seriously endanger health, particularly among those with potentially killer illnesses.
The MHRA launched an investigation after the parents of a young leukaemia sufferer were forced to rush their child to hospital for urgent care despite an apparently normal temperature reading.
The child, in fact, had a high temperature which was not picked up by the thermometer they bought on the internet.
The raids form part of a nationwide operation to prevent unapproved medical devices being sold online. Many appear on eBay and are priced below market value.
The MHRA’s deputy clinical director, 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 MHRA has seized a number of other fake medical devices from locations around the UK as part of its investigation.
These include seven Kiddicare cool pads designed to help reduce children’s temperatures and three counterfeit devices, used to tone stomach muscles.