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ETIRA succeeds in changing UK health body cartridge policy

June 29, 2015

The association lobbied Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to change its labels that had excluded remanufactured cartridges.

The label placed on the CCG printers

The label placed on the CCG printers

ETIRA stated that this means the CCG and other bodies like it “should not distribute labels claiming that OEMs do this”, with the CCG said to have seen “the error of their ways”, correcting the label text and meaning that “this market outlet remains open for remanufacturers to offer their products to the practices”.

The case was reported by The Recycler in May earlier this year, with the CCG said to be putting labels on newly-installed printers prohibiting use of “generic toners”. Alan Castro, CEO of remanufacturer LaserCare Anglia, emailed the CCG after coming across the label, to ask whether or not the ‘generics’ were referring to compatibles, and to explain that remanufactured cartridges have “simply […] undergone a process of refurbishment” as “the toner and the OPC drum are the only components that we actually replace. All the rest are original components as Brother intended them to be without alteration”.

A representative of the CCG responded that it was transitioning to using products from printer manufacturers offering five year warranties and discounted toner, while only “genuine toner” supplied by the NHS would be allowed, to ensure the warranty was not invalidated. The labels in question were set to be put on the majority of printers over the next 12 months as part of a replacement programme, as HP printers are installed in medical practices.

It also  clarified that its objective was to ensure IT assets remain in service for at least their warranted life, and that to achieve this it plans to have printer repairs done under the manufacturer’s warranty, owing to a lack of funding available for replacing printers. The representative added that “the future” will entail the CCG providing hardware and practices being “responsible for their best use, maintenance and care”.

Vincent van Dijk, Secretary General of ETIRA, sent “a strongly-worded letter” to the CCG’s chief executive advising him that the policy is illegal and to “withdraw their edict forthwith”, and ETIRA reported that it had insisted that “today, no OEM excludes the warranty simply because non-OEM cartridges were used: all OEMs know that this would be a very serious and illegal claim”.

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