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Online retailers stop sales of some blood oxygen monitors after investigation

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Amazon, eBay and Wish have stopped stocking some monitors that let people keep track of their blood oxygen levels after an investigation found they were not fit to be sold.

The online marketplaces removed a number of pulse oxygen testing devices known as oximeters from sale after being alerted to flaws identified by the consumer organisation Which?

Pulse oximeters have boomed in popularity as a result of Covid, with millions of people keeping one at home so they can quickly assess if their blood oxygen level has fallen worryingly low – a condition known as “silent hypoxia” – which is a common side-effect of the disease.

Some of the devices were not legally fit to be sold in the UK, did not carry the CE quality Kitemark or wrongly claimed that they had been approved by the NHS.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said it would look into the unauthorised use of the health service’s iconic blue and white branding on the devices. It made clear that “the NHS does not approve or endorse any medical devices, including oximeters”.

“The department strictly controls the NHS identity and takes unauthorised use or adaptation of the NHS logo and the letters ‘NHS’ very seriously”, a DHSC spokesperson said.

Which? said that 11 of the cheap pulse oximeters it bought from those websites failed to comply with UK and European Union law when it examined them closely.

“It is very concerning that our investigation found these medical devices for sale without the required safety markings or brazenly claiming to be approved by the NHS, and the biggest online marketplaces were not picking up on these red flags”, said Natalie Hitchens, the consumer group’s head of home products and services.

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Source: The Guardian, 26 March 2022

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