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EMS, Fire and Law Enforcement Officials should be on the lookout for dangerous counterfeit tourniquets

August 25, 2014 – Joint Release from the N.C. Department of Insurance and the N.C. Secretary of State

Raleigh – A recent CBS News television story highlighted the fact that counterfeit brand-name tourniquets have now been found in the United States. The fakes mimicked a line of high-quality tourniquet medical devices that are made to self-apply in emergency situations or to be put onto a patient quickly by a trained first responder.

No complaints about the fake tourniquets have been documented in North Carolina at this time, but North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine F. Marshall and North Carolina Commissioner of Insurance and State Fire Marshal Wayne Goodwin are cautioning emergency first responders that they need to be checking the supply of tourniquets they have on hand, and to order them from reliable sources to ensure that the products they purchase are authentic.

The fakes appear to look almost exactly like the real ones, except the parts are of low-quality, breakable, and do not restrict blood flow to an injured limb as a real tourniquet does.

“We often point out that the crooks who counterfeit products do not care what happens to those who buy their shoddy merchandise,” Secretary of State Elaine F. Marshall said Monday. “In this case, they are more than willing to let injured people die in their pursuit of making a dishonest buck.”

“Our state’s first responders are saving lives every day, and it’s a critical concern that counterfeiters may compromise their ability to do that,” said Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Wayne Goodwin. “I urge all fire and rescue workers to remain vigilant that counterfeit or low-quality equipment does not make its way into North Carolina.”

The North Carolina Secretary of State’s Office pursues product counterfeiters as part of its trademark protection law enforcement duties.

The North Carolina Department of Insurance Office of State Fire Marshal is committed to supporting efforts of the fire and rescue service through training, inspections, injury prevention programs and grant distribution.

The counterfeit devices found so far have included knock-offs of the C-A-T brand tourniquet distributed by North American Rescue (NAR) LLC brand products.

That company has issued a warning to customers that they have seen fakes imitating their “C-A-T” tourniquet and illegally using C-A-T trademarks.

The C-A-T device is often carried by a wide range of emergency personnel including EMTs, firefighters and law enforcement officers.

In a statement prepared in partnership with the NC Secretary of State’s Office and the NC Department of Insurance, NAR General Counsel Curtis Stodghill noted “Counterfeit tourniquets are a serious problem, for North American Rescue with the Combat Application Tourniquet(r) and Tactical Medical with the SOF(r) Tactical Tourniquet and the public. The C-A-T(r) and SOF(r) T are class 1 life-saving medical devices and the only tourniquets approved by the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care.  The fakes are not made with the high standard quality control processes and are not reliable. North American Rescue is aware of catastrophic failures of the counterfeits during actual life-saving applications. It is essential for anyone purchasing a life-saving tourniquet to know they are buying authentic and quality medical devices. Lives and limbs are at risk!  To ensure your Combat Application Tourniquet(r) (C-A-T(r)) is authentic, contact North American Rescue at 888-689-6277 or for the SOF(r) Tactical Tourniquet (SOF(r) T) Tactical Medical at 864-224-0081.”

The fakes appear to be imported from China and sold on-line by resellers on websites such a eBay and Amazon at prices that are far below what the real products cost. The authentic models of both brands mentioned by Stodghill are manufactured in the USA.

Officials fear that well-meaning first responders trying to stock their emergency kits may be lured into buying the fakes because of the low prices.

Secretary of State Marshall requests that anyone in North Carolina finding a counterfeit tourniquet also call her Department’s Trademark Tipline at 919-807-2178 with details so that state law enforcement agents can pursue the matter.

“If these dangerous knock-offs show up anywhere in North Carolina,” Marshall said, “we want to be chasing after whoever is selling them here just as quickly as possible.”

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