The Food and Drug Administration is alerting the public
against the use of unauthorized medical tapes for sale in the United States.
Some vendors have begun offering medical test strips in online markets like Amazon, eBay and Craigslist. While many of these products claim to be as effective as those available in pharmacies and other pharmacies, they do not necessarily have the same guarantee of safe use.
Used or Unauthorized Test Strips
In fact, the FDA even discourages consumers from adopting condescending test strips sold by unauthorized vendors as they may not have passed proper safety tests.
This can lead to inaccurate results in the home tests, which are dangerous for people with serious medical conditions
such as blood clots and diabetes.
The federal agency also warned patients and health professionals about the use of used test strips as they may cause infections.
Tim Stenzel, a representative of the Devices and Radiological Health Center, explained that the FDA is aware that some consumers choose to purchase pre-owned or unauthorized test strips to save money. However, they can also put themselves at risk of serious injury or death while doing so.
"Today's warning is part of our ongoing public health commitment to communicate when we become aware of issues arising from the misuse or use of medical devices," said Stenzel.
"By alerting the public and helping them recognize the illegal sale of these products, we hope to avoid unnecessary harm to people who depend on the tests."
Domestic Use Tests
Millions of people in the United States depend
in household medical tests to closely monitor their health conditions.
Patients with diabetes use test strips to check their blood if sugar levels are still within the normal range. Meanwhile, people undergoing warfarin therapy rely on such home use tests to measure their International Normalized Ratio.
The FDA has maintained
an eye on used test strips and those offered by unauthorized sellers, many of which are being made available online.
There are no reported cases of serious injury or death related to the use of such products. However, the agency has already taken steps to alert consumers to the potential of used or unauthorized domestic use tests to cause significant damage.
The FDA said test strips bought online may be overdue or not stored properly, making them unsafe for use by patients. They may not produce an accurate test result, which is crucial for sufferers of diseases to receive the correct dosage for treatment.
Some test strips used for home use may be contaminated with blood from the previous owner, increasing the risk of infection to the next user.
To find out if household use test strips are used or not authorized, consumers are advised to check whether the package has changed or if it has already been opened. They should also look for the due dates in the box.
If a person can buy test strips with prescription even without a prescription, it is likely that the product is not authorized for sale in the United States. The FDA
said that such medical test strips should not be used.
Consumers should only buy test strips from trusted sources, such as pharmacies or product manufacturers.
Patients should consult their local pharmacist or health care provider if they are not sure whether the home use test they purchased is unsafe or if they are unable to purchase products that they do not own.