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Simple new test to combat counterfeit drug problem in developing countries
Date:8/19/2012

ngly take counterfeit antibiotics and anti-malaria medicines that do not contain the active ingredient to combat those diseases. In addition to lacking the active ingredient, counterfeit medicines may harm people by containing ingredients that are potentially toxic. Officials blame crime rings, which profit from selling at full-price pills that contain plaster of Paris, baking soda or other inexpensive ingredients.

Compounding the problem, Barstis explained, is the difficulty in testing medications for authenticity. In some instances, it may take 3-6 months to test a batch of suspect drugs because the testing is usually done in Europe or the U.S. Barstis' team responded to that situation with the new test for Panadol, which takes less than 10 minutes, can be done by consumers and also can be used by personnel in government regulatory agencies, clinics and hospitals.

The test consists of chemically treated paper the size of a business card. To check for counterfeit ingredients, a person simply swipes the pill over the paper and dips the paper in water. Color changes on the paper indicate suspicious ingredients. Barstis validated the test on 570 pills, including many with fake ingredients added by researchers. The College has applied for a patent for the test.

Barstis' team now is developing a similar test to identify counterfeit antibiotics, anti-malaria drugs, and Tamiflu, the influenza medication. The team works in collaboration with chemistry, biochemistry, computer science and industrial design teams at the University of Notre Dame, Ind.


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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

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