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Reverse Engineering Tablets for Counterfeit Investigations

Chemical imaging specialists at Malvern Instruments are demonstrating how data derived from reverse engineering of pharmaceutical tablets can aid the fight against counterfeit drugs. Using the SyNIRgi near infrared chemical imaging (NIRCI) system they have been able to collect data detailed enough to characterize the formulation and processes used to create individual dosages. Results can be compared to both the original manufacturer specifications and a database of known counterfeits.

An application note entitled ‘NIR chemical imaging for tablet deconstruction: A case study for solid dosage forms’ outlines the methodology required to produce this level of information. The free download is available at www.malvern.com/nircitablets.

SyNIRgi combines the species identification capabilities of conventional near-infrared spectroscopy with digital imaging, to answer the questions ‘what?’, ‘how much?’, and ‘where?’. Able to non-destructively analyze powders, granules, and tablets of all shapes and sizes, SyNIRgi gives results in minutes. Not only does it have clear applications in counterfeit detection and as a tool for Quality by Design, it also takes the guesswork out of formulation development, speeds up QA/QC, and aids rapid troubleshooting in manufacturing. No sample preparation is needed, data acquisition speeds are high, and by simply changing an objective the system can be quickly configured for either microscopic or macroscopic imaging.