Chemists develop new approach to detect counterfeit medicines such as Viagra

Researchers at the University of Montreal have developed an improved chemical analysis method that is more efficient and faster in detecting counterfeit medicines, which have skyrocketed in recent years. 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,” says Lebel. 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 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.”

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