New method to detect counterfeit medicines like Viagra developed
Researchers at the University of Montreal have developed an improved chemical analysis method that is more efficient and faster in detecting counterfeit medicines, which are available in the market.
The method was developed and tested in a study by Philippe Lebel, Alexandra Furtos and Karen Waldron of the university's Department of Chemistry.
It identifies and quantifies the various compounds present in a pharmaceutical product, in a fifth of the time it takes governmental services to do the same job.
"Fake drugs are a scourge for public health," Lebel said.
Once a simple artisanal activity, counterfeiting has become a global industry linked to organized crime and the mafia.
"According to the World Health Organization, worldwide sales of counterfeit medicines reached 75 billion dollars in 2010. Sildenafil citrate, better known by its trade name, Viagra, and the two other erectile dysfunction drugs, Cialis and Levitra, are among the most counterfeited drugs in the world," he said.
It is not a coincidence. Men who suffer from erectile problems often have difficulty talking about it with their doctor.
"On the Internet, they don't have to consult a professional or have embarrassing conversations," Furtos said.
"It also costs much less: 1 dollar per tablet compared to 15 dollars for the real deal," she added.
However, buying prescription drugs online exposes the buyer to potentially serious health risks.
"These drugs are often manufactured in garages with poor sanitation. They can be dosed less, even devoid of the active ingredient," Waldron said. "Worse, they can contain a different substance that can cause undesirable side effects."
The study is published in the Journal of Chromatography.
(Posted on 25-05-2014)