The PREP panel was established In 1993, by Dr F J Trevor Burke (now Professor of Primary Dental Care at the University of Birmingham School of Dentistry) who understood the need for busy general dental practitioners (GDPs) to have access to clear and concise independent assessments of new products within a reasonably short time after their introduction.
Additionally, there was a need in the dental manufacturing and supply industry for speedy feedback on the limitations and advantages of their products when used in general practice.
An initial group of 6 Manchester-based GDPs was soon expanded to 30 UK-wide GDPs, with a wide range of dental interests, and was named the PREP (Product Research and Evaluation by Practitioners) panel.
When the PREP Panel evaluates a new product, a protocol (including a detailed assessment form) is drawn up with the sponsor and this forms the basis of a formal contract. From the outset it was established that the PREP panel co-ordinators were free to publish the evaluation findings, subject to the sponsor being given the opportunity to respond to the reports prior to submission.
The first report of a PREP panel evaluation was published in Dental Practice in the September 15th issue of 1994, and since then over 50 product evaluations, and 20 papers in peer-reviewed journals, have been published.