Regulation of medical devices delayed

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 June, 2014, 3:36am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 June, 2014, 3:36am

Plans to regulate the use of medical instruments have been delayed, prompting anger from lawmakers.

The Food and Health Bureau wants to introduce a registration system to cover instruments, traders and assessment bodies, as well as an appeal board to monitor advertisements and keep track of after-sales safety.

But its plans have been held up by delays to a government study into whether devices commonly used in the beauty industry, such as high-powered medical lasers, should be used only by registered medical practitioners.

The study, which was prompted by the death of a woman following blood-transfusion "therapy" at a beauty clinic in 2012, had been due for completion this year, but will now not be finished until next year.

Medical sector lawmaker Kwok Ka-ki told a health panel meeting of the Legislative Council yesterday that the delay was "unacceptable".

"We are just talking about regulating medical devices, and regulating the users still has a long way to go," Kwok said.

Other lawmakers agreed, warning that the slow progress would prevent customers from benefiting from the regulations as soon as possible.

Sophia Chan Siu-chee, undersecretary for food and health, said the legislative process would start as soon as the study was completed.