Team:Florida Atlantic/HP/Silver


Silver Human Practices

Counterfeit and substandard medicines are a growing problem in both the developed and developing world. All medicines—from antimalarials to cholesterol medication—can be counterfeited, and as the fake drugs become more convincing, the danger of trained professionals dispensing substandard medications increases 1 . These counterfeit drugs pose a risk not only to the patients that receive ineffective and often dangerous fake drugs, but also to the public at large as diluted and subpar quality medications increase the risk of drug resistance.
In Africa, one of the most commonly faked drugs is the antimalarial artemisinin 2 . Because there are fewer safeguards against counterfeit medicines, and because it can be difficult to find legitimate sources of artemisinin, determining the authenticity of artemisinin samples is often of paramount importance. Devices already exist that can test artemisinin samples to determine if they are counterfeit, but these devices often require either sophisticated laboratory equipment or training, which can be difficult to access in the field. Furthermore, no device currently exists that can both sensitively and specifically determine if a sample of artemisinin is authentic. Because of the import of developing a device that can be used to generate reliable results in the field, our team has decided to develop a system that can be used to create a biosensor in a relatively short period of time and be used with minimal training.
In addition to the work that our team has done in researching the threat of counterfeit medicines, one of our advisors has extensive knowledge of the danger fake drugs can pose: Dr. Esiobu has done research into the state of counterfeit drugs around the globe in conjunction with the State Department. Under her advisement, our team has focused on the most commonly faked drug in Africa as a test of our system, but a similar approach can be applied to other drugs commonly faked in Europe or the Americas such as antipsychotics and cholesterol blockers.

1 MBA, J. T. (2014, June 25). The Health and Economic Effects of Counterfeit Drugs. Retrieved October 01, 2017, from vol-7- no-4/1756- the-health- and-economic- effects-of- counterfeit-drugs 2 Nayyar, G. M., Breman, J. G., Newton, P. N., & Herrington, J. (2012). Poor-quality antimalarial drugs in southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 12(6), 488-496. doi:10.1016/s1473-3099(12)70064- 6


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