Researchers at Swiss drugmaker Roche - in association with colleagues at the University of Lausanne - have developed a spectral database of fake medicines which helps investigators draw links between different counterfeiting incidents.
The scientists compiled near-infrared (NIR) and Raman spectra for an unidentified pharmaceutical product, and cross-referenced these with additional testing based on gas chromatography -mass spectroscopy (GC-MS) and Fourier Transform Infrared (FT-IR). In this way, they identified a series of distinct counterfeit classes, based on chemical profiling.
"The model is able to compare the spectrum of a new counterfeit with that of previously-analysed products and … determine if a new specimen belongs to one of the existing classes," write the researchers, who have published their work in Forensic Science International (in press ahead of print).
The approach provides "valuable information for organisations engaged in the fight against counterfeiting of medicines," they note.