The FDA is trying many approaches to fighting counterfeit drugs. It has even developed in its own lab a hand-held device that can check for counterfeit drugs and tampered packaging.
The agency this year unveiled on national television the Counterfeit Detection Device #3, or CD3, as it likes to refer to it. The scanner uses light waves to check samples against stored scans of real APIs and drugs in its memory. The device also can be used to check if packaging has been tampered with. It emits light in 10 different wavelengths and can be used on drugs, powders and inks. The device, which has been patented, was developed in the agency's forensic lab and while it is not officially for sale, the agency said it might consider making it available to regulators elsewhere.
"It is low cost compared to other analytical devices, operates with batteries, and requires minimal training to use. It allows for 'real time' comparisons with authentic drugs--and has already proven useful for identifying counterfeit drugs at our busy international mail facilities," FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg told CNN.