A Portable Suitcase to Test Drugs
Fake, substandard and poor quality medicines lead to nearly half a million deaths annually and cost upwards of 15 billion dollars. Low-income countries are unable to safeguard their pharmacopeia, and hence these poor quality medicines lead to loss of life, create morbidity and long-term drug resistance. PharmaChK, developed byMuhammad Zaman, is a portable suitcase that tests drug quality affordably, easily and at all points in the supply chain, therefore protecting investment, consumers, and health of all. The technology is a portable suitcase and is based on optical engineering and microfluidic chemistry. The research team behind the technology has developed specific probes that combine with the drug in question and provide quantitative information on how pure the drug is, and how it will function. PharmaChk is a small suitcase (~10-12 lbs) which is fully functional, portable and self-consistent. The user just needs to select the drug that he/ she wants to test, add it to the specific chamber and use a touch screen to run the test. There is minimal sample preparation and in a matter of 10-15 minutes the entire test is run. This is significantly simpler, shorter and more accurate than existing methods. PharmaChk has conducted two rounds of tests in Ghana and have demonstrated the efficacy of the technology against the metrics of quality, ease of use, affordability, quantitative results and viability within the system.