Navigation Links
New technology combats global pandemic of drug counterfeiting
Date:8/19/2012

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 19, 2012 Drug counterfeiting is so common in some developing countries that patients with serious diseases in Southeast Asia and elsewhere are at risk of getting a poor-quality drug instead of one with ingredients that really treat their illness, a scientist involved in combating the problem said here today.

Speaking at the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, Facundo M. Fernndez, Ph.D., described how his team has developed technology that reduces the time needed to check a sample for authenticity from a half hour to a few minutes. And they are working on the prototype of an affordable, portable version of the device that could be used in the field.

"It would enable medical officials in developing countries to check on whether a drug for malaria, tuberculosis or other diseases is the real thing, or a fake that contains no active ingredients, or the wrong one," Fernndez explained. "They could sort the good medicine from the bad immediately, without shipping samples to laboratories abroad and waiting days or weeks for the results."

Fernndez, who is with the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, said new ways of fingering fake medicines are important because the problem is spreading with the globalization of pharmaceutical production ― almost like a global pandemic ― with drug counterfeiters becoming more sophisticated.

"In some of our studies, 50 percent of the drug samples from Southeast Asia have been counterfeit," Fernndez said. "And it is hard to tell from looking at the packaging. The packages look absolutely professional and authentic, sometimes right down to the hologram seal introduced to discourage counterfeiting."

Counterfeiting involves all kinds of medications, from the acetaminophen used for headaches and fever (see separate press release) to lifestyle medications like Viagra to drugs for cancer, malaria and tuberculosis, diseases that cause millions of deaths annually. The World Health Organization says that about 10 percent of medications worldwide are counterfeit. Estimates run even higher in poor, developing countries in Southeast Asia and Africa, where past reports have stated that as much as one-third of tested drugs are fake. Patients in these countries often cannot afford the real treatments, and supplies of the real drugs may run dangerously low in some regions, prompting desperate patients to seek medications from shady sources.

Fake medications sometimes contain the correct active ingredient, but at the wrong dose. Too much could result in an overdose and possibly death. Too little could result in drug resistance, leading to a situation where the real medication doesn't even work anymore. Other counterfeit drugs do not contain the active ingredient at all. Still others contain toxic substances or even different drugs that could cause unexpected side effects or allergic reactions.

Fernndez and colleagues developed methods to finger fake anti-malarials and tuberculosis medicines and identify their ingredients. The team also distinguishes between counterfeits and drugs that may just have degraded after exposure to hot and humid conditions and those that are just not made correctly at the manufacturing plant. To do this, they use mass spectrometry (MS), a standard laboratory technology that weighs molecules in order to identify them.

"So-called ambient MS methods require much less instrument and personnel time than traditional methods, so we use them as a first pass to look at the quality of large sample sets," said Fernndez. For example, the researchers recently tested 900 samples from Cambodia in only two weeks with their rapid MS technique. This would have taken months with traditional approaches. "Suspicious samples would then be re-examined by more complex and costly techniques," he added.

His group identified several counterfeit anti-malarial medications in a recent study in which they carefully examined suspicious drugs from 11 African countries. The team is now working on new methods to test tuberculosis drugs. The group also is putting together the prototype instrument that medical researchers in developing countries could use to identify counterfeits in the field.

"These are methods that let you analyze a solid sample without any significant preparation," he explained. "You can take a tablet, put it in front of the instrument with an ionization source, and you get a quick snapshot of what's in the sample. It provides a very high-throughput pipeline to identify suspicious samples quickly."


'/>"/>

Contact: Michael Bernstein
m_bernstein@acs.org
215-418-2056 (Philadelphia Press Center, Aug. 17-23)
202-872-6042

Michael Woods
m_woods@acs.org
215-418-2056 (Philadelphia Press Center, Aug. 17-23)
202-872-6293
American Chemical Society


Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Heroes of Chemistry: Developed new drugs and technology to cut heating and cooling bills
2. New technology represents next-generation tool for detecting substandard and counterfeit medicines
3. WPI to host international workshop focused on technology solutions for first responders
4. New targeting technology improves outcomes for patients with atrial fibrillation
5. New technology improves heart rhythm treatment
6. Researchers to use novel metabolomics technology for COPD
7. University of Minnesota licenses Clinical Decision Support technology
8. Newer technology to control blood sugar works better than conventional methods
9. 3M™ Gripping Material Technology – Giving Golfers a Competitive Edge
10. IVR Technology Group Named Platimum VAR by TSYS
11. FDA Approves SonixGPS Needle Guidance Technology for Vascular Access Procedures
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/23/2017)... ... March 23, 2017 , ... Demonstrating their commitment to ... public health departments have been awarded national accreditation through the Public Health ... the expanding network of communities across the nation whose health departments meet rigorous ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... ... 2017 , ... 82% of adults are unaware of the dangers that infectious bacteria play in ... minimum two times a day that dentists recommend. The ramifications of improper oral upkeep go ... and adults missing 164 million hours of work each year due to dental issues. That ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... ... March 23, 2017 , ... ... Angeles based healthcare technology company California Healthcom Group (CHG). , The HUG ... healthcare arena. With headquarters in California, CHG is a growing, internationally recognized healthcare ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... City (PRWEB) , ... March 23, 2017 , ... After ... fall, FaceCradle , the most-funded travel pillow in crowdfunding history, has ... delivery of its wildly popular travel innovation to Americans. , “We’re excited to be ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... ... March 23, 2017 , ... According to the ... poor sleep is likely not the only cause of the sunken-eye look, which can ... you look older or in poor health are likely due to genetics, dehydration, allergies, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:3/23/2017)... A research report by Mordor Intelligence ... reach USD 7.2 billion by the end of 2021 and ... procedure in which a sample is preserved prior to its ... since the methods are often allowing repeated testing. The report ... shared procedures in the lab. In many life science labs, ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... March 23, 2017 Ascendis Pharma A/S (Nasdaq: ... technology to address significant unmet medical needs in rare ... conference call and webcast on Monday, April 3 during ... in Orlando, Florida , to discuss ... (TransCon Growth Hormone, TransCon PTH and TransCon CNP). ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... , March 23, 2017  Cornerstone ... announced a major milestone today.  Following successful ... the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), ... clinical and regulatory path forward to conduct ... in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: