PharmaCheck: Substandard Medicines Screening for the Developing World

Muhammad Zaman, Ph.D.Muhammad Zaman, Ph.D.
Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies – Biomedical Engineering
Associate Professor – Biomedical Engineering
Boston University – College of Engineering


Christopher Gill, M.D.
Christopher Gill, M.D.
Associate Professor – International Health
Boston University – School of Public Health


With counterfeit medicines occupying at least 10-30% of the market in resource-limited areas, millions of people receive inadequate treatment for illnesses. The current standard for screening medicines in resource-limited areas is the GPHF MiniLab®, a portable lab-in-a-suitcase capable of analyzing drug constituents to quantify amount active ingredient(s). However, it produces an inherent systematic error of 20%, is unreliable and unable to test drugs with multiple active ingredients, the current standard in Malaria and TB. Most importantly, it fails to perform dissolution testing which is a necessary test to measure drug quality. No currently available portable or handheld device performs this test. In response, we have developed PharmaCheck – an inexpensive, reliable, and robust drug screening technology that serves as an accurate quantitative measure of the active ingredient and performs dissolution testing.