ID Method for Illicit Drugs Could Help Analyze Fake Medicines

A new method for analyzing illicit drugs can also be used as an anti-counterfeiting technology to help with the identification of fake medicines.

The new method involves the identification and confirmation of illegal drugs and their salt forms, which is the form in which many illicit drugs are found, according to a news release.

The method is called high-performance liquid chromatography with mass spectrometry (HPLC/MS) and it reportedly provides accurate simultaneous separation and detection of cations and anions in drugs.

Drugs can be identified by two independent criteria – retention time and mass spectral signature. This method will reportedly allow chemists to analyze illicit drugs.

This method can also be used by analysts to determine whether or not prescription drugs are counterfeit, what the counterfeit drugs are comprised of and potentially how ineffective (or deadly) they would be.

Such a method could potentially help law enforcement officers gain information about where ingredients used to make counterfeit drugs is coming from. In this sense, this development might not be dissimilar to other anti-counterfeiting technologies, like RFID tags, that allow authorities to trace drugs through the supply chain.