Presentation given by Dr. David Blake


David Blake presented a paper titled “The Use of Field-Portable pXRD for the Rapid Identification of Counterfeit Pharmaceutical Products and Subsequent Excipient Identification and Quantification” at the 9th Pharmaceutical Powder X-ray Diffraction Conference held last week in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

In the talk, Blake presented XRD data on real and counterfeit malaria drugs showing that a field-portable spinoff of the CheMin instrument on MSL could be useful in identifying and reducing or stopping counterfeit malaria drug traffic in Southeast Asia. The XRD study of malaria drugs was the result of Blake’s collaboration with Dr. Michael Green of the CDC and Dr. Paul Newton of Oxford University. Newton supplied the real and counterfeit drugs from his malaria field laboratory in Laos. 1.5 million people die of malaria each year, and in the malaria infested regions of SE Asia, tens of thousands die as a result of the malaria counterfeit drug problem – if a person has malaria and is treated with counterfeit malaria drugs, that person usually dies.
More than 50% of all malaria drugs in SE Asia are counterfeit. An equally serious problem is that some counterfeit malaria drugs contain less than the required amount of the active ingredient, artesunate. There are drug-resistant forms of the malaria parasite appearing in regions of Laos and Myanmar as a result of this practice.

list of acronyms and terms:

pXRD: powder X-ray Diffraction
excipient: inactive ingredients included in a pharmaceutical product
CDC: US Centers for Disease Control
MSL: Mars Science Laboratory