© 2018 Elsevier B.V. Falsified medicines represent a serious threat to public health. Among the different measures to effectively combat this scourge, analytical methods play a key role in their detection and removal from the market before they reach patients. The present study evaluates for the first time the potential of a benchtop low-field (LF) Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectrometer for uncovering drug falsification by focusing on the analysis of fifteen erectile dysfunction and nine antimalarial medicines, the most commonly reported falsified medicines in developed and developing countries respectively. After a simple and rapid sample preparation and ≈ 5 min of spectrum recording, LF 1H NMR allows to conclude on the quality of the medicine: presence or absence of the expected active pharmaceutical ingredient (API), presence of unexpected API, absence of any API. Some 2D experiments are also described but although conclusive they are hampered by the duration of the experiments. The LF 1H NMR assay, based on the internal standard method, is validated by the determination of its accuracy, repeatability, limits of detection (LOD) and quantification (LOQ), and by comparison of the data obtained on some medicines after 45 min of spectrum recording to those measured with high-field 1H NMR. Because of its saving capabilities (cost, space, user experience), LF 1H NMR spectroscopy might become a routine screening tool in laboratories in charge of detecting falsified medicines.
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