CandyCodes could provide sweet justice against fake pills

CandyCodes could provide sweet justice against fake pills

A bioengineer at the University of California, Riverside, may have found a way to prevent counterfeit medications: pill coatings inspired by the sprinkles on baked goods and candies.

Photo by danilo.alvesd on Unsplash

When we swallow a pill, we hope it will work without side effects. Few of us know to worry about a growing issue facing the pharmaceutical industry: counterfeit medications. These pills, patches, and other medical products might look just like the real thing. But they’re often stuffed with fillers that dilute the medication’s potency or they’re simply substituted for lookalikes that contain none of the prescribed medication at all.

Now, bioengineer William Grover at the University of California, Riverside, may have a solution. Inspired by the tiny, multi-colored sprinkles called nonpareils that decorate baked goods and candies, Grover created CandyCodes pill coatings to prevent counterfeits.

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Robin Donovan
Robin Donovan is a science journalist based in Portland, Oregon. Her work has appeared in Vice, Neo.Life, The Scientist, Willamette Week and many other outlets.
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