Parents are outraged after their children were handed out tubes of expired toothpaste as part of a complimentary dental care kit.
A two-day free dental treatment camp was organised by a dental college, which is part of a leading healthcare group in Ajman.
Speaking to Emirates 24|7, parents of primary children said they were shocked to see expired toothpaste being distributed to their kids and many of them have returned the samples to their respective schools. Some parents are even planning to approach the UAE health authorities.
Ramesh C, parent of Harsha Ramesh, a grade 3 student of Al Ameer English School, Ajman, said: “My daughter was sent to the free dental treatment camp organized by the GMC Hospital group in Ajman. She attended the camp, which promised free check-up and consultation, demonstration of tooth brushing techniques and other dental care protection. By chance, I checked the expiry date on the 20ml sample packet of Parodontax toothpaste. The expiry date printed on the tube was August 30, 2012."
Ramesh added: “What would have happened if my daughter had used the toothpaste, which was way past it's use date,” he asked.
“I have contacted the principal of Al Ameer School and complained about the expired products. I hope the school will take appropriate remedial action.”
He said other parents were also aware of the problem and returned the expired sample packets to the school. The toothpaste promises to offer protection against gum diseases.
Official of the GMC group did not respond to Emirates 24|7's email sent to seek a clarification on the issue.
When contacted, SJ Jacob , Principal, Al Ameer English School Ajman, confirmed that many parents complained about the expired toothpaste and he was embarrassed after the incident came to light.
“We have received a lot of complaints from the parents about the expired toothpaste distributed among the students. More than 1,000 students attended the free dental camp organised by the GMC Hospital.”
Principal Jacob added: “We are following up with the dental camp organisers. It turned out to be a big embarrassment for the school.”
“We participated in good faith. It is unfortunate that such an incident happened. We are examining the follow-up action so that such incidents are not repeated because the health of innocent school children are involved..”
An official bilingual brochure (in English and Arabic) released by the GMC Hospital Ajman said a free dental treatment camp was held on September 20 and 21.
It also claimed that that the camp was conducted by the GMC Super-Speciality Dental center-Ajman, the first dental centre in the Gulf to be accredited by Temos Germany.
Dr Nabeel Safat, Head of Department, at the Dental Care Unit of GMC Hospital said: “We organize such camps every month and free samples are distributed by the manufacturers. There is some confusion but we are following ISO standards. There is a misunderstanding by parents and it is not my responsibility because the manufacturers of Parodontax are distributing it directly in our camps.”