TeraView a UK-based firm has developed the ‘Terahertz Imaging Technology’ which can help regulators and law enforcement agencies fight drug piracy and counterfeit drugs. The technology helps identify counterfeit drugs by generating the structure of tablet coatings and cores by scanning the tablets and comparing the results against a database of known tablet ‘fingerprints’.
World Health Organisation (WHO) along with over 20 other international partners have already established “The International Medical Products and Anti-Counterfeiting Taskforce” (IMPACT) to stop the production, trading and selling of fake medicines globally. The terahertz imaging technology assumes significance in curbing the counterfeit drug market whose sales are expected to reach US$75 billion by 2010 an increase of 90% from 2005.
Though TeraView claims that the terahertz imaging technology is fully ready for implementation IMPACT has urged that companies should exercise caution for considering it as a solution for handling counterfeit drugs. TeraView however, is planning to build a database of the spectral fingerprints of companies’ products by working closely with them for other applications also.
Don Arnone, Chief Executive, TeraView opines that the terahertz imaging technology can not only determine the drug contents, check for active constituents, but differentiate brand name drugs from those of other manufacturers. All this being possible as each tablet has a unique fingerprint for its coating and contents. The terahertz imaging technology can also help companies in identifying the different forms of crystalline molecules – polymorphs. In addition to this, detecting cracks or agglomerations within a tablet core and establishing a tablet coating’s thickness and integrity will aid drug companies.