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$1 'PAD' shows promise in detecting fake prescription drugs

Veripad. (KOMO)

SEATTLE (KOMO) - The World Health Organization estimates that half of the drugs for sale on the internet are counterfeit.

With access to all types of prescription drugs, people worldwide are shopping for the best deals they can. And Veripad believes it has a solution that can help people figure out if their prescription medicines, wherever they got them, are legitimate.

Users crush a suspected medicine and spread the residue across a “PAD,” which is then put into water. The PAD is designed to interact with the medicine, looking for key ingredient markers.

After three minutes, color cues form on the card. Using a smartphone and Veripad’s app, the user takes a picture. Technology co-developed by Seattle-based Slalom is used to match the PAD’s color cues to a database of 60 identifiable drugs.

Slalom’s director of technology, Joe Berg, says more drugs are being added to Veripad’s database daily. Developers say the app reports back with a 90-percent confidence rate.

"The idea is to move the power out of the hands of the experts in the laboratories into the hands of the consumer,” says Berg.

LegitScript, a drug industry website, estimates 95 percent of online pharmacies worldwide – including those in the U.S. – fail to adhere to applicable legal requirements when dispensing drugs and 92 percent of those operated illegally.

KOMO News was unable to independently verify Slalom’s claims but the product does show promise. The PADs will sell for $1 when they go on sale later this year.

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