Beware of counterfeit medical supplies

Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), hand sanitisers and other disinfectants are global shortage due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, containers of counterfeit surgical / face masks and other medical supplies are landing at borders of several African countries at an alarming rate.

Utilising fake PPE can be life-threatening as often this equipment does not perform as it should, compromising users. Much of the branded PPE products encountered have already reached months/years past their expiration date. Some of those products have completely deteriorated, rendering them extremely dangerous to use in areas with high exposure to infection, as they will not function properly.

Government’s recommendation that face masks be used as one of the mitigation measures against virus transmission has seen a surge of poor quality and substandard cloth face masks emerging in South Africa and being advertised for sale online via various social media platforms. Interestingly, some of these face masks bear well-known fashion or popular sporting (even automotive) brands to lure unsuspecting consumers and boost the sales. Application of fashion or popular sporting brands on face masks should raise red flags

It is critically important for the end users out there to purchase authentic personal protective equipment or products when seeking to minimise the risk of infection. Using PPE that has approved European CE Standard is always the best way to ensure quality safety protection and the supplier should be able to provide the applicable certificates. All PPE must be supplied with instructions for use and be appropriately tested and marked with a CE marking – without it, the product is illegal to use as protective equipment. PPE in South Africa is governed by specific standards such as the South African Bureau of Standards, South African National Standards and International Organisation for Standardisation. End users should ask suppliers for their PPE certifications to this affect.

Godfrey Budeli
Partner | Trade Mark Attorney
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