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Parliamentary questions
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13 January 2010
by Konrad Szymański (ECR)
to the Commission

 Subject: Design fault in disposable syringes referred to in Petition 637/2008
 Answer in writing 

In 2006 two doctors in Poznań identified a design fault in disposable syringes widely used in the medical profession and an error in the instructions for using the syringes. They informed the relevant national bodies of the danger. Given the scale of the risk, they also sent a petition in April 2008 to the European Parliament’s Committee on Petitions (No 637/2008), enclosing scientific studies and a multimedia presentation describing the design fault and the error in the instructions. At the same time the doctors presented possible solutions to the problem, including prototypes for new syringe designs.

It is clear from the Petitions Committee’s reply, which also contains a written response from the European Commission, that the Commission’s experts analysed a completely different risk to that referred to in the petition (probably owing to a mistranslation). They analysed the much less important risk of contamination via the piston seal, which is extremely rare.

The problem highlighted by the doctors concerns the far more likely contamination from the syringes’ plunger rod. This contamination can occur even if the syringes are used in accordance with medical procedures, particularly when the piston is used correctly and the plunger is pushed fully into the syringe. This problem was set out clearly in the petition and the attached scientific articles.

This is a serious fault given the scale of the epidemiological risk. Could the Commission therefore answer the following questions:

1. Does the Commission intend to analyse the problem of contamination from the plunger rod?
2. Does the Commission intend to examine the doctors’ proposed solutions to the design fault in the syringes currently in use?

Original language of question: PLOJ C 10 E, 14/01/2011
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