Nigerian agents detect fake drugs using Raman units

On-the-spot pharmacy inspections in Nigeria find that fakes make up 20 percent of retail inventory. Inspectors from the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), using the TruScan counterfeit-drug detection device, visited 40 drug stores in the Oyo capital city of Ibadan.

TruScan, a product of Thermo Scientific's Ahura acquisition, is a handheld Raman spectrometer. The unit is built for users having little understanding of chemistry, the company says. TruScan analyzes the chemical composition of an authentic pharmaceutical dosage, including APIs, excipients, fillers, dyes, and coatings. Users scan the retail drug, and the instrument compares the authentic drug's spectrum against that of the retail product. TruScan then provides a pass or fail indication.

Following the investigation, which involved six groups of agents at various locations in the city, the regulator advised pharmacists to check product batch numbers before accepting deliveries from sellers. The effort is a part of a nationwide surveillance.

Some of the fakes were pulled from the market. Owners of the shops where they were found were summoned to the regulator's offices.

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