NQR for counterfeit detection on factory floor and at pharmacy

By Claire Videau and Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nuclear magnetic resonance, Drugs

Scientists say counterfeit drug and ingredient detection using NQR could benefit both manufacturers and pharmacies.

Last week​ researchers at Lund University in Sweden and Kings College London in the UK unveiled a technique they claim can differentiate genuine pharmaceuticals from fakes based on rapid analysis of their chemical constituents.

in-pharmatechnologist spoke with lead researcher Andreas Jakobsson who said that the approach, which uses nuclear quadrupole resonance (NQR), provides a “fingerprint” unique to a product’s active ingredients.

Prof Jakobsson explained that, based on previous work on the detection of explosives, his team have created algorithims capable of analysing these “fingerprints” and potentially determining whether a product is genuine in a matter of minutes

He also suggested that, beyond the detection of fake drugs, NQR could be used by drugmakers for quality assurance (QA) to ensure the quality of the ingredients they source which, given the increasing complexity of the global supply chain, could be a significant benefit.

Jakobsson and his team are working on a prototype system in a Wellcome Trust funded project and hope to have completed the work in the two years.

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