Device that spots fake drugs

drug-device.jpgI’m not sure what kind of job you’re holding if you need this gadget, as you could be on either side of the law. Still, it makes a pretty interesting bit of news for all and sundry – there is now a device that is capable of detecting as to whether the drug in question is a counterfeit or not, even if it is still inside the packaging. I suspect that many border patrols and customs offices worldwide would be scampering to place an order as soon as possible, since it makes spotting fake packages so much easier. This gadget will also help cut down on the ludicrous amount of counterfeit medicines on sale in South East Asia and Africa.

Since counterfeit drugs are transported in a packaging that is virtually identical to the real deal, a trained eye won’t be of much help in this case. This detector, developed by Pavel Matousek and Charlotte Eliasson from Rutherford Appleton Laboratory utilizes a different variant of Raman spectroscopy (that’s a routine analytical technique for the layman). The Rama analyzers will shine a laser light into the sample, enabling these molecules to emit some infrared radiation which is then collected at the same focus point. Since each chemical has its own unique range of infrared Raman frequencies, you will be able to separate the fake drugs from the legit copies almost immediately.

Hopefully these devices will hit the market soonest possible as current devices are unable to analyze substances within a package due to the interference caused by the material which disrupts the sample’s signal. When a working commercial version is finally released, each of these handheld devices will cost somewhere in the region of £10,000 and £20,000.

Source: New Scientist Tech