Simple counterfeit drugs test developed

NOTRE DAME, Ind., Aug. 26 (UPI) -- A paper-strip test can identify counterfeit versions of one of the most-frequently counterfeited medicines in the world -- Panadol, a U.S. researchers says.

Toni L. O. Barstis, a chemistry professor at Saint Mary's College in Notre Dame, Ind., said in addition to lacking the active ingredient, counterfeit medicines may harm people by containing ingredients that are potentially toxic.


Panadol is one of multiple brand names used abroad for the pain-and-fever-reliever acetaminophen, known in the United States as Tylenol. The scientists emphasized that no such problem exists with Tylenol or other acetaminophen products marketed in the United States.

"Panadol long has been among the most common, standard pain-relieving drugs counterfeited around the world," Barstis said in a statement. "In the past, you could just look at the labeling and packaging and know if it was counterfeit. Now, they do such a good job with the package design it's hard to determine whether it's a package of the genuine medicine or a fake that contains no acetaminophen or even ingredients that may be harmful."

The test consists of chemically treated paper the size of a business card. To check for counterfeit ingredients, a person simply swipes the pill over the paper and dips the paper in water. Color changes on the paper indicate suspicious ingredients, Barstis said.


The findings were presented at the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society in Philadelphia.

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