Analysis of the external packaging of pharmaceutical samples

Author: Shadia Ajam

Emalee Kernisan, a senior science-business major, has been working on the PAD project since fall 2012. Recently, her role on the project has involved analyzing the exterior packaging of pharmaceuticals sent to the lab from Kenya and checking the medication first hand for anything suspicious. The process to determine the authenticity of the pills includes photographing the pills, ensuring that the samples are all similar, and reviewing the information listed on the packaging to identify any misspellings and inaccurate information.

Kernisan has also worked with high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), to determine if the drug samples have the correct amounts of active pharmaceutical ingredients.

 “The social justice aspect of the process is really important to me,” explained Kernisan.  “I like it when we’re able to find pharmaceuticals that are sub-standard, trace the source of the illegitimate packaging, and bring attention to it,” Kernisan explained.

A team of computer scientists on the PAD project team have been working on an application that will determine the legitimacy of pharmaceuticals through a picture. Kernisan said that they hope to release this technology soon.

After graduation, Kernisan plans to work in the medical field and hopes to enroll in a physician assistant program.

Analysis of Pharmaceutical Samples

[photo coming soon]