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Throughout history, poor quality medicines have been a persistent problem, with periodical crises in the supply of antimicrobials, such as fake cinchona bark in the 1600s and fake quinine in the 1800s. Regrettably, this problem seems to have grown in the last decade, especially afflicting unsuspecting patients and those seeking medicines via on-line pharmacies. Here we discuss some of the challenges related to the fight against poor quality drugs, and counterfeits in particular, with an emphasis on the analytical tools available, their relative performance, and the necessary workflows needed for distinguishing between genuine, substandard, degraded and counterfeit medicines.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





3073 - 3082


Counterfeit Drugs, Databases, Factual, Developing Countries, Drug Contamination, Drug Stability, Fraud, Mass Spectrometry, Pharmaceutical Preparations, Quality Control, Spectrophotometry, Infrared, Spectrum Analysis, Raman