The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a new cutting-edge tool that can be used to expose counterfeit drugs.
Called Counterfeit Detection Device #3, or CD3, the hand-held device was developed by FDA scientists to be used in the field for the purpose of uncovering fraudulent products and packaging.
The CNN.com reported that the new battery-operated device
is currently being used in fifty FDA field laboratories. It's also used in border crossings
, import centers, international mail facilities, and points of entry where inspectors screen drug ingredients, finished products, and dietary supplements to identify counterfeit, falsified and unapproved drugs
, cosmetics, foods, medical devices, and cigarettes
"This device was designed in-house by FDA scientists in response to the needs for screening in the field," said FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg. "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 like fentanyl
at our busy international mail facilities."
The CD3 can detect products that have been tampered, re-labeled, and re-glued. It has been used to analyze drugs like Crestor, Lipitor, Oxycontin
, Viagra, Tamiflu, Singulair, Plavix, and Wellbutrin.
Through the device, the agency is hoping to block as many counterfeit medicines that are entering the United States and posing threat to public health.
Hamburg said the amount of FDA regulated products imported into the country has marked a significant increase from 6 million to 24 million. Eighty percent of the facilities manufacturing active ingredients for FDA-approved prescription drugs
are outside the United States.
"In total, some 300,000 foreign facilities spread across 150 countries are sending FDA-regulated products to our shores. And, these products now account for approximately 11% of all U.S. imports," Hamburg added.