Assessment of the performance of a handheld Raman device for potential use as a screening tool in evaluating medicines quality

J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2013 Feb 23;74:47-55. doi: 10.1016/j.jpba.2012.09.016. Epub 2012 Oct 23.


The TruScan(®) handheld Raman device is used for testing finished pharmaceutical products in the field to detect counterfeit and substandard medicines. Present work reports on the device's ability to discriminate between a specific product and similar products from different manufacturers, unrelated medicines, and medicines with different strengths. This investigation evaluated its ability to differentiate between similar drug products of similar or different strengths, focusing on the specificity and precision of the testing. First, several units of the same medicine's dosage form were compared; then comparisons were made between unrelated products, similar products, and products with different strengths. The six pharmaceutical products used in testing were from commonly used analgesic, antimalarial, and antidiarrheal medicines. The results showed that the performance of the TruScan(®) device depends on the nature and the strength of the dosage form tested; while the device could be suitable for authentication of some finished pharmaceutical products and, hence, could be used to detect some counterfeit medicines, it could not be used to detect substandard medicines. Careful consideration should be given when using the device as a screening tool for counterfeit medicines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antimalarials / analysis*
  • Antimalarials / standards*
  • Computers, Handheld / standards*
  • Counterfeit Drugs / analysis*
  • Quality Control
  • Spectrum Analysis, Raman / instrumentation*
  • Spectrum Analysis, Raman / standards*


  • Antimalarials
  • Counterfeit Drugs