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Larissa Doucette

Protecting the public health from counterfeit drugs entering the US is a top priority for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), stressed FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, MD, at a September 10, 2012, symposium. As part of its efforts, the agency has developed handheld devices that help identify counterfeit versions of FDA-approved drug products. The Counterfeit Detection Device #3, developed by FDA scientists, emits light waves and when aimed at counterfeit drug products shows differences in color or shade when compared with the authentic product. Hamburg explained that the device “allows for ‘real time’ comparisons with authentic drugs – and has already proven useful for identifying counterfeit drugs” at international mail facilities. The detection device is also used at FDA field laboratories and at border crossings. More information is available in a CNN blog feature.