United Kingdom

UK to launch review into racial bias in medical devices

15:02, 21 November 2021
UK to launch review into racial bias in medical devices Photo: Komsomolskaya Pravda/Global Look Press

Britain’s Health Minister Sajid Javid has ordered the review of medical devices that may work improperly for various ethnicities due to the skin color. 


Oximeters that are being attached to a finger were suggested to show the wrong results of oxygen in a patient's blood if they are from ethnic minorities. 

The wrong numbers that the device showed, could have led to poor consequences as a patient receives improper treatment against COVID-19.

The minister wants to clarify whether racial bias is the matter saying its presence in "unacceptible."

Javid cited that the effect of pandemic variously affects black, Asian, and other minorities.

Researchers from the EClinical Medicine suggested that patients from ethnic minority groups are disproportionately affected by the Covid contagion. The data is based on 50 studies in which the overall number of 18 million people is included.

Earlier the NHS recommended checking the device whether it works correctly for all ethnicities, as there were also concerns that pulse oximeters show the false result due to darker skin.

NHS England and medicines regulator MHRA said that a beam from a device would indicate different scales of light absorbed as the skin pigmentation may affect this light.