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VOA Examines New Tests To Rapidly Identify Counterfeit Medications

“Counterfeit medications are a serious and sometimes deadly problem in developing countries,” but “two teams of U.S.-based scientists have developed quick tests can identify counterfeit drugs before they can cause harm,” VOA News reports. Toni Barstis, a chemist at Saint Mary’s College in Indiana, and a team of researchers “presented the new testing methods this week at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in Philadelphia,” the news service writes, noting, “Scientists hope their efforts can help prevent the thousands of deaths caused by fake medicines every year.”

“Barstis’s test, which she developed with colleagues at nearby Notre Dame University, consists of chemically treated paper the size of a business card,” VOA writes, adding, “A person simply rubs a pill on the paper and dips it in water. She says color changes on the paper indicate suspicious ingredients.” The news service notes, “Barstis says the team is close to developing similar paper tests for several other popular medicines,” and “she is considering how to make the tests widely available.” The news service adds, “The new techniques should help combat what the World Health Organization calls a serious threat to health care systems around the world” (Widiss, 8/21).