Counterfeit batteries: The Achilles heel of MedTech
Published: 3 June 2016 - Sarah Mead
International battery specialist, Accutronics, has created a slideshare highlighting the dangers counterfeit batteries pose to medical technology (MedTech). Given the critical nature of medical devices, being caught unaware by the growing number of counterfeit batteries on the market carries serious consequences. The informative slideshare can be found here.
Issues surrounding counterfeit components pose such a threat that 2015 saw the launch of the European Market Surveillance Support Initiative (MSSI), which is being heavily supported by Alan Birks, deputy director of Gambica. Birks has been vocal in urging European manufacturers of electrical infrastructure and installation products to join the fight against fraudulent goods to ensure compliance with existing legislations.
Nowhere is this more important than the MedTech sector. Portable medical devices not only have to comply with a long list of stringent regulations, they also have to be designed to operate without mains electricity, making reliable and safe backup-power management systems a necessity. Devices such as acute ventilators, portable anaesthesia workstations and digital radiography panels all need continuous and safe power to protect patient health.
“The most talked about threat surrounding medical devices in recent years has been cyber attacks”, said Michele Windsor, marketing manager of Accutronics. “While it is true that the arrival of the Internet of Things (IoT) in healthcare is resulting in devices being used as hacking backdoors into medical systems, it’s important that the threat posed by fake components isn’t overlooked.
“According to research by IHS, over 10 percent of all electronics in the global supply chain are counterfeit. Given the high risk to patient wellbeing should medical devices fall victim to poor quality, dangerous grey market batteries, medical device original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) need to take steps to protect the machines they develop.
“That’s why at Accutronics, we have incorporated SHA-1 algorithmic security into our medical batteries and work with OEMs to help them secure their technology. The algorithm is mirrored by software in the device itself, allowing the machine to detect whether a battery is counterfeit and to automatically reject it if it proves to be fake.”
Accutronics always works very closely with MedTech OEMs to help them design products that are innovative, safe to use and meet regulatory requirements. This slideshare (available here) reflects the company’s ethos of support, and Accutronics hopes to increase awareness of the threat that the counterfeit market poses to critical medical devices as well as the solutions available.