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Drop in medical device recalls to be welcomed

Of all product recalls, the one people least look forward to is a recall of medical devices — which is why a year-on-year reduction in recalls, no matter how small, is to be welcomed.

Between the beginning of 2019 and 3 May, just 27 recalls were issued —three down from the same period last year.

Equally as reassuring is the low overall number of recalls. There has to be no quarter given or taken when it comes to ensuring products designed for use in medical treatments are designed to the highest possible standard, so the relatively low number compared to some consumer categories — in context — has to be welcomed.

Of these recalls, some are more commercial decisions, with products no longer offered for sale among those to be recalled from the market for 2019 so far. Others are recalled for the simple reason that the text on labels or boxes has changed.

However, some do present cause for concern. Recalls of equipment designed to lift patients due to a fragile part that could break instantly conjures up worrying images. However, better to conjure up a worrying image than see it made real on the front page of a newspaper.

Others, where a defibrillator may fail during use or improperly sterilised rectal tubes, are perhaps more instinctively horrifying to a potential patient or medic — but once again when recalled from the market become far more inert.

It does rather put into context the importance of rigorous testing and proper recall procedures – with swift and prompt action taken in these areas. As such, medical device recalls remain a shining example for other manufacturers to follow.

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