by Benjamin K. Wilson, Harparkash Kaur, Elizabeth Louise Allan et al.
The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Volume 96, Issue 5, May 2017, p. 1117 – 1123
Poor-quality medicines are a major problem for health-care systems in resource-poor settings as identifying falsified medicines requires a complex laboratory infrastructure such as a Medicines Quality Control Laboratory. The authors report here an evaluation of a low-cost, handheld near-infrared spectrometer (NIRS) device by analyzing a library of artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) medicines to determine its usefulness as a drug-screening tool. The NIRS device was successful at detecting falsified medicines in all cases where the library contained both quality assured and falsified medicines of the same stated brand of medicines. This work reveals that this low-cost, portable NIRS device is promising for screening ACTs for falsified samples and could enable widespread drug screening at all points of the health system.