Researchers in Belgium recently uncovered a new method to identify counterfeit drugs.


A team of researchers from the Scientific Institute of Public Health in Brussels, Belgium, compared three different spectroscopic techniques to determine which was best for certain erectile dysfunction drugs, according to

The three techniques examined were Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), near infrared spectroscopy (NIR) and Raman spectroscopy. The team also combined these techniques to fully examine them.

The research revealed that a combination of FT-IR and NIR was best for determining the authenticity of Pfizer’s Viagra. For Eli Lilly’s Cialis, NIR and Raman produced the best results, according to the researchers.

"These techniques not only permitted a clear discrimination between genuine and counterfeit or imitation samples but also the distinction of clusters among illegal samples," the team wrote. "This might be interesting for forensic investigations by authorities."

These anti-counterfeiting technologies help to identify counterfeit drugs and prevent tragic incidents from occurring, such as when 400 people died in Nigeria, Haiti and Bangladesh from taking a drug that was treated with a solvent used in wallpaper remover.