Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Low-Tech Handheld Device Detects Counterfeit Drugs

Date:
November 26, 2001
Source:
American Society For Microbiology
Summary:
Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have adapted a simple low-tech device normally used to examine urine specimens to test and detect counterfeit drugs. They report their results on a method to test malaria drugs today at the 50th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in Atlanta.

ATLANTA -- Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have adapted a simple low-tech device normally used to examine urine specimens to test and detect counterfeit drugs. They report their results on a method to test malaria drugs today at the 50th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in Atlanta.

"Counterfeit malaria drugs are a widespread problem in many parts of the world, especially in southeast Asia ," says Michael D. Green, a chemist in the CDC Division of Parasitic Diseases and the presenting author of the study. "A survey in southeast Asia determined that 38% of samples of the malaria drug artesunate purchased at retail outlets contained no active ingredients whatsoever." In 1999 at least 30 malaria deaths in Cambodia could be linked to inadequate treatment due to counterfeit drugs.

The device, called a handheld refractometer, has been commonly used by clinics to measure the specific gravity of urine specimens. Green and his colleagues realized that by measuring the specific gravity of certain dissolved drugs, one could easily determine the amount of active ingredient in a tablet. While not able to conclusively identify an unknown drug, the device could be used as a first line of defense to identify counterfeits.

The test is simple and the refractometer is relatively inexpensive with adequate devices costing less than $100. The tester simply takes a sample of the medication (usually a tablet), pulverizes it, dissolves it in alcohol and filters out any solids left. A drop of the clear solution is placed on the refractometer, which casts a shadow line giving the refractive index. That index can be converted to specific gravity, which is compared to a standard already established for that particular drug.

"This is a simple, relatively low-tech approach that people in developing countries who have limited resources can use," says Green. So far, Green and his colleagues have only tested this approach in the lab. He hopes to begin field testing soon. While this study focused only on malaria drugs, the refractometer can be used to detect all sorts of fake drugs. Green has also studied several tuberculosis drugs and hopes to expand this application to other drugs.

"This application could be used to test mass batches of drugs imported from overseas. It could also be used to screen drugs sold outside the formal U.S. pharmacy system, such as over the internet, where counterfeits could be easily pushed on the consumer," says Green.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society For Microbiology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Society For Microbiology. "Low-Tech Handheld Device Detects Counterfeit Drugs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 November 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/11/011120055727.htm>.
American Society For Microbiology. (2001, November 26). Low-Tech Handheld Device Detects Counterfeit Drugs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/11/011120055727.htm
American Society For Microbiology. "Low-Tech Handheld Device Detects Counterfeit Drugs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/11/011120055727.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Positive Ebola News: Outbreak 'Contained' In Nigeria

Some Positive Ebola News: Outbreak 'Contained' In Nigeria

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) The CDC says a new case of Ebola has not been reported in Nigeria for more than 21 days, leading to hopes the outbreak might be nearing its end. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN Ebola Mission Head: Immediate Action Is Crucial

UN Ebola Mission Head: Immediate Action Is Crucial

AFP (Sep. 30, 2014) The newly appointed head of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), Anthony Banbury, outlines operations to tackle the virus. Duration: 00:39 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Confirms First Case of Ebola in US

CDC Confirms First Case of Ebola in US

AP (Sep. 30, 2014) The CDC has confirmed the first diagnosed case of Ebola in the United States. The patient is being treated at a Dallas hospital after traveling earlier this month from Liberia. (Sept. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Breast Cancer Drug Extends Lives In Clinical Trial

New Breast Cancer Drug Extends Lives In Clinical Trial

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) In a clinical trial, breast cancer patients lived an average of 15 months longer when they received new drug Perjeta along with Herceptin. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins