Valisure’s new online pharmacy offers validated meds

Valisure has officially launched what it says is the first online pharmacy that dispenses chemically-validated medications direct to consumers.

The company’ has developed laser-based technology to analyse the chemical properties and ingredients of every batch of prescription medication, over-the-counter drug and supplement the company dispenses – and says it can do so without adding costs to consumers.

The Raman-based analytical system is combined with algorithms to address variability in medication quality, and is designed to detect substandard active pharmaceutical ingredients in branded as well as generic medicines – which account for 90 per cent of all drugs prescribed in the US.

"When your prescriptions are filled, neither you, your doctor, nor your pharmacy knows the actual quality of the medication you're getting, says  David Light, founder and CEO of Valisure, who started after colleague Adam Clark-Joseph had a bad experience with a bad batch of anti-epileptic medication during a routine refill from a big-chain pharmacy.

“We've all had the experience of buying a bad batch of produce from a supermarket, but you can usually tell when food is bad by smell, taste or appearance. But a bad batch of meds tends to look, taste and smell exactly like a good one,” says Light.

“At Valisure, we have the only pharmacy that chemically checks the quality of every single batch of every medication to screen out the bad batches.”

The company thinks its service becomes ever more relevant in light of quality-failure incidents such as this year’s recall of blood pressure drugs valsartan and hydrochlorothiazide, as well as the ever-present risk of exposure to counterfeit medicines.

In a recent blog post, Light notes that there has been a series of “innovative ideas, technologies and companies” pledging to eradicate counterfeits but which have failed to penetrate even a tiny piece of the market. And while blockchain is the latest tech capturing the imagination of people in the pharma supply chain, he contends, this cannot counteract the fact that “authenticity does not equal quality.”

“Even if an ethereal blockchain genie implemented all these technologies perfectly, the end result would be you would get a bottle of meds, scan it, and you would know that your meds were authentically made in a Chinese factory that may have never even been inspected.”

About 80 per cent of ingredients in US medications are manufactured in India or China where FDA oversight is difficult, says the company.

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