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Fake Covid-19 tests have been offered to Irish-based healthcare professionals and device distributors, it has emerged.
According to the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA), a “small number of instances” of attempts to supply falsified tests have been “interrupted” with the cooperation of healthcare professionals and distributors.
“The HPRA has no evidence of falsified Covid-19 tests being made available to members of the public in Ireland,” a spokesperson added.
The Authority advised that “members of the public should not purchase tests for Covid-19 online or from any other retailer. These tests may provide incorrect results.”
“The HPRA also calls on stakeholders such as distributors and healthcare providers not to purchase Covid-19 tests from non-reputable sources and to be aware of unsolicited third party calls from companies offering exclusive rights to supply Covid-19 test kits or other medical devices which would be outside their normal scope of business activities.”
The Authority added that it was not aware of any “illegal Covid-19 related medical devices or medicines reaching members of the public in Ireland”.
“The HPRA continues to liaise at a European level to ensure that all information in relation to falsified tests is shared and this information forms part of the HPRA’s enforcement strategy in this area.
“The HPRA recommends that all testing for Covid-19 is conducted in line with the current national diagnostic testing strategy set by the national public health emergency team (NPHET). The HPRA will continue to participate in the work of NPHET and will update its advice if the testing strategy adapts as the pandemic progresses.”
On 27 March the HPRA issued an information notice advising the public, healthcare professionals and other healthcare stakeholders to be aware of the “falsified tests for the diagnosis of Covid-19 circulating in Europe”. At that time, there was no evidence of their availability in Ireland.
The notice advised healthcare professionals: “If you are approached in relation to IVD [in-vitro diagnostic] tests for Covid-19 we would recommend to decline such approaches”.
The HPRA regulates medicines, medical devices and other health products in Ireland in order to protect public health