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A novel method of analysing pharmaceutical compounds can identify counterfeit drugs within minutes, a pharmacologist claims.
Professor Tony Moffat, head of the Centre for Pharmaceutical Analysis at London University’s School of Pharmacy, said the new technique can speed up the time it takes to identify fake medicines.
With traditional technology using large, laboratory-based practices, pinpointing counterfeit drugs can take hours or days of intensive work.
Recently, fake versions of Plavix® (clopidogrel), which prevents blood clotting, Casodex® (bicalutamide), used to treat prostate cancer, and Zyprexa® (olanzapine), for psychosis, have all entered the supply chain in the UK.
But the new system, called Direct Analysis in Real Time (DART), produces an almost instantaneous reading of the chemical composition of the outer coating of a tablet – or of its core composition – based on a scraping.
Presenting his research at the British Pharmaceutical Conference in Manchester recently, Professor Moffat said: “This new technology allows analysis from a scraping rather than from a whole crushed tablet, which saves time and effort, and can identify counterfeits in real time – two important benefits over existing technology that offer wholesalers, regulators and governments the opportunity to upscale their efforts to detect fake drugs that are increasingly entering the supply chain.”
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