Washington: A simple 10-minute test that involves swiping a pill over chemically treated paper could detect fake drugs and slash the incidence of illness and deaths.A team led by Toni Lo Barstis, chemistry professor, St Mary`s College in Notre Dame University, has devised a new test for Panadol and other drugs, which takes less than 10 minutes. Testing suspect drugs may often take as much as three to six months as it is usually done in Europe or the US.Problems have been documented in India, Kenya, Nigeria, Vietnam and Panama. Many of the deaths occur among people who unknowingly take fake antibiotics and anti-malaria drugs that lack the active ingredient to combat those diseases, according to a St Mary`s statement.Barstis` test consists of chemically treated business card-size paper. A person simply swipes the pill over the paper and dips it in water. Colour changes indicate suspicious ingredients. Barstis validated the test on 570 pills, including many with fake ingredients added by researchers. The college has applied for a patent for the test.
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