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How Technology Can Help Turn the Tide on Fake Drugs in the COVID-19 Era

It is an unfortunate fact of industry that almost every sector of the global market is plagued by counterfeiting and the proliferation of knock-off products, created and sold by opportunistic or criminal enterprises. However, there are few in which the potential impact is as harmful to people as it is for the pharmaceutical sector.

Buying a fake consumer product is likely to be an expensive inconvenience at worst, but substandard or falsified medicines can pose a genuine threat to human health, as vulnerable patients are left with useless therapies that fail to treat their condition, or actively cause them harm. Against the backdrop of the current COVID-19 pandemic, this is a problem that is accelerating, and the consequences of this trend could be devastating.

To make matters worse, modern counterfeiting techniques are often quite sophisticated, making fake medicines harder than ever to detect, even without the supply chain disruptions brought about by the pandemic. International authorities are dedicating considerable time and resources to tackling the danger posed by counterfeit medicines, but the problem remains prominent.

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Mike Seed is a Sales and Product Manager at Elementar UK, a leading supplier of elemental analysis and IRMS (isotope-ratio mass spectrometer) instrumentation. He has been working with the company for nearly two decades, and has significant expertise in the development of stable isotope analysis techniques applied to a broad spectrum of applications.
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