The Global Pandemic of Falsified Medicines: Laboratory and Field Innovations and Policy Implications
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Globally, it is estimated that about 10–30% of pharmaceuticals are of poor quality. Poor-quality drugs lead to long-term drug resistance, create morbidity, and strain the financial structure of the health system. The current technologies for substandard drug detection either are too expensive for low-resource regions or only provide qualitative results. To address the current limitations with point-of-care technologies, we have developed an affordable and robust assay to quantify the amount of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) to test product quality. Our novel assay consists of two parts: detection reagent (probe) and a microfluidic testing platform. As antimalarials are of high importance in the global fight against malaria and are often substandard, they are chosen as the model to validate our assay. As a proof-of-concept, we have tested the assay with artesunate pure and substandard samples (Arsuamoon tablets) from Africa and compared with the conventional 96-well plate with spectrophotometer to demonstrate the quantitative efficacy and performance of our system.

[open-access] This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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  • Received : 25 Jun 2014
  • Accepted : 14 Mar 2015
  • Published online : 03 Jun 2015

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