Fake meds are pretty common around the world, putting a lot of people in danger of not receiving their prescribed pills while ingesting something completely unknown. Researchers at the University of Notre Dame have now developed a paper test that should cost less less than $1 to manufacture that can reliably tell if a medication is authentic or not. They reported their findings at the National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society in Philadelphia this week.
The paper device has twelve channels, each embedded with different reagents that spot specific chemical compounds. A sample pill is crushed and rubbed across the twelve channels near the top of the card. The bottom of the card is then dipped in water, which travels up the channels and makes the powder from the pill contact the reagents. The reagents change colors depending on whether or not a reaction happens and the result is compared to a default color pattern that should appear if the drug is the same as what says on the bottle.
Here’s an American Chemical Society video showing off the new paper test:
ACS press release: Paper-based device spots falsified or degraded medications…