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Edible 'security tag' to protect drugs from counterfeit

    • 1320 posts
    March 20, 2020 3:14 AM EDT
    Edible 'security tag' to protect drugs from counterfeit

    University researchers are aiming to stump counterfeiters with an edible
    "security tag" embedded into medicine. To imitate the drug, a
    counterfeiter would have to uncrack a complicated puzzle of patterns not
    fully visible to the naked eye.To get more news about security tag, you can visit estar-eassystem news official website.

    medicine is a thriving business, making up at least 10% of global
    pharmaceutical commerce while also claiming thousands of lives each

    In the U.S., counterfeit drugs range from cancer and
    diabetes treatment to erectile dysfunction medication. Counterfeit
    opioids have caused deaths in 46 states.

    Tagging drugs would not
    only guard against fakery, but also help pharmacies better verify the
    legitimacy of a drug before selling to consumers.

    "Every single
    tag is unique, offering a much higher level of security," said Young
    Kim, an associate professor in Purdue's Weldon School of Biomedical

    The tag acts as a digital fingerprint for each drug
    capsule or tablet, using an authentication technique called "physical
    unclonable functions," or PUF, that was originally developed for
    information and hardware security.

    PUFs have the ability to
    generate a different response each time that they are stimulated,
    rendering them unpredictable and extremely difficult to duplicate. Even
    the manufacturer wouldn't be able to re-create an identical PUF tag.

    group is the first to create an edible PUF -- a thin, transparent film
    made of silk proteins and fluorescent proteins genetically fused
    together. Because the tag is easily digestible and made entirely of
    proteins, it can be consumed as part of a pill or tablet.

    various LED light sources on the tag excites the fluorescent silk
    microparticles, causing them to generate a different random pattern each
    time. The microparticles emit cyan, green, yellow or red fluorescent

    Digital bits can then be extracted from an image of those
    patterns to produce a security key, which a pharmacy or patient would
    use to confirm that a drug is authentic.

    The researchers are currently converting this process to a smartphone app for both pharmacies and consumers.

    concept is to use a smartphone to shine an LED light on the tag and
    take a picture of it. The app then identifies if the medicine is genuine
    or fake," said Jung Woo Leem, a postdoctoral associate in biomedical
    engineering at Purdue.

    The tag also has the potential to hold much
    more information than simply a confirmation of what the drug is, Leem
    said, such as the dose and expiration date.

    Leem found that the
    tag works for at least a two-month period without the proteins
    degrading. Next, the team will need to confirm that the tag could last
    as long as a drug does and that it doesn't affect a medicine's key
    ingredients or potency.