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Dégardin K, Roggo Y. Drug Test. Anal. 2015; 8(3-4): 388-397.


F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd, Bldg 250 Room 3.504, Wurmisweg, 4303, Kaiseraugst, Switzerland.


(Copyright © 2015, John Wiley and Sons)






Medicine counterfeiting is a current problem that the whole pharmaceutical field has to deal with. In 2014, counterfeits entered the legitimate supply chain in Europe. Quick and efficient action had to be taken. The aim of this paper is to explain which analytical strategy was chosen to deal with six of the cases concerned and which criteria have to be considered to provide quick and thorough information about the counterfeits. The evaluation of the packaging was performed in a first step, based on a comparison with genuine samples and evaluation of manipulation signs. Chemical methods were then used, consisting of near infrared and infrared spectroscopy, capillary zone electrophoresis and ultraviolet-visible spectrophotometry, in order to authenticate the samples and provide the chemical composition of the confirmed counterfeits. Among the 20 samples analyzed, 17 were confirmed as counterfeits. The counterfeits were the results of the manipulation of genuine samples, and one contained totally counterfeited parts. Several manipulation signs were asserted, like the addition of glue on the boxes and the vials. Genuine stolen goods had been diluted with water, while for an isolated case, a different active ingredient had been introduced in a vial. The analytical data generated were further investigated from a forensic intelligence perspective. Links could be revealed between the analyzed counterfeits, together with some interesting information about the modus operandi of the counterfeiters. The study was performed on a limited number of cases, and therefore encourages chemical and packaging profiling of counterfeits at a bigger scale. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Language: en


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