BACKGROUND: Authentix has created incredibly small identifying markers that can be put into pharmaceutical products or on packaging to help field testers spot the genuine from the fakes, by using special sensors. These nano-sized markers (ranging from 50 nanometer to 5,000 nanometer in size -- are FDA-approved and safe for consumption. Fake drugs are not only inefficient -- and therefore potentially life-threatening -- but could also contain hazardous material, such as dangerous bacteria, that could get into the tablets during unsafe production conditions. Authentix also makes markers to thwart currency counterfeiters and for military uniforms so they can be detected in remote locations by aircraft and troops.
HOW IT WORKS: For example, to authenticate drugs pill by pill, Authentix inserts molecular markers made up of travel levels of FDA-accepted ingredients. These markers are odorless, colorless and tasteless organic compounds several nanometers in size, and can be detected through simple field-testing kits that take only a few minutes to perform. A tablet is placed in a bit of liquid. The test works like a receptor-binding pregnancy test: if the tablet contains the right marker, it shows up within one minute on a test strip dipped into the liquid. When used in packaging, nanomarkers can be mixed into inks and coatings and applied onto labels, cartons, closure seals, vial crimps and tops. Because of their unique spectral properties, they can later be detected by shining a light with a specific wavelength onto the packaging.
WHAT IS PHARMACOLOGY? Pharmacology is the study of how drugs work. Understanding how drugs work is not only important for the development of new safe therapies for disease, but also for our understanding of how the body works. Basic pharmacologists develop new drug molecules and study their mechanisms of action and side-effects, while clinical pharmacologists are more involved with the use of drugs in human health and disease. Related disciplines include toxicology (the study of the toxic effects of drugs and chemicals), and medicinal chemistry (the study of the chemical properties of drugs).
The American Society for Microbiology contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.