This Smartphone Can Spot Fake Viagra

A new Chinese smartphone includes material-sensing technology in the form of a built-in molecular scanner. Now you can readily distinguish counterfeit drugs from the real thing.

You’ve just made an online purchase of some drugs purported to contain the same active ingredients as Viagra, but now that they’ve arrived, you’re having second thoughts about taking them.

Are they the real thing or a counterfeit that could contain useless or even toxic ingredients? How can you tell if they’re the genuine article?

Your only option until recently has been to send the medication off for scientific analysis, which would end up costing far more than you’d have spent if you bought the real thing in the first place.

In a world where smartphone technology has become increasingly more sophisticated, you can’t help wondering if perhaps there’s an app for that?

Phone Has Molecular Scanner

And it seems that such an app is available to consumers who purchase the Changhong H2 with material sensing technology. The phone and its molecular scanning capabilities were first previewed at CES 2017, the high-tech trade fair held in Las Vegas in early January 2017. There Sichuan Changhong introduced a smartphone capable of analyzing the chemical composition of the food you eat and the drugs you take.

The H2 uses Scio molecular identification technology that was developed by Israeli-based Consumer Physics Inc. and further refined in collaboration with Analog Devices Inc., which is based in Largo, Florida. The phone contains a Scio sensor that absorbs light reflected back from the object under analysis. That light is then broken down into a spectrum and then analyzed to determine its chemical makeup. Each object has its own unique molecular fingerprint.

Can Analyze Varied Materials

In essence, the H2 phone with its built-in molecular sensor is a handheld spectrometer that is capable of analyzing the properties of foods, liquids, medications, body metrics, and more. In introducing the H2 phone at CES 2017, Sichuan Changhong President Jin Li said his company and its collaborators believe the H2 will inspire “curious thinkers around the world to explore their surroundings in a new and revolutionary way.”

Martin Cotter, senior vice president for ADI’s worldwide sales and digital marketing, said the H2 with its integrated, near-infrared spectrometer “makes it possible to see the physical world around us like never before via a mobile phone. . . .”

Dror Sharon, the chief executive officer at Consumer Physics, said the H2 offers the public access to material analysis capabilities that were previously only available to scientists. “This is the next leap forward not just for mobile phones, but for all sorts of connected devices. The Changhong H2 and smartphones are only the beginning.”

H2’s Capabilities Demonstrated

In an article posted at VentureBeat.com, writer Dean Takahashi recounted his experiences at a demonstration of the H2 at CES 2017. He said a company representative showed how the H2 built-in spectrometer could readily distinguish between a real Viagra pill and a fake one that looked virtually identical to the real article. Takahashi said the phone also indicated which of two apples was the sweeter and calculated the number of carbohydrates in a piece of cake.

The H2, which runs on the Android operating system, was introduced on the Chinese market in June 2017 with a list price of roughly $430. The H2 was scheduled to debut on the U.S. market in late 2017 or early 2018.

Third-Party Apps Invited

To ensure that the H2’s material analysis capabilities are fully exploited, Sichuan Changhong plans to develop additional applications that utilize this advanced technology. It also seeks to assist third-party developers to create such applications and now offers a software development kit.

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Using its built-in spectrometer, Sichuan Changhong’s H2 smartphone can calculate the number of calories and carbs in the food you eat.

The H2’s ability to distinguish between real medications and phony copies could be a real boon to health care consumers, particularly those who buy drugs to treat erectile dysfunction.

These ED drugs are widely counterfeited worldwide, and the counterfeiters have done an excellent job of creating fakes that look identical to the brand-name drugs they purport to be. Now with the H2 or devices like it, consumers will be able to quickly determine if the drugs they’re considering swallowing are real or not.

Counterfeits Can Be Hazardous

Some counterfeit Viagra seized in customs raids across the world have been found to contain little or no sildenafil citrate, the drug’s active ingredient. Others may contain excessive amounts of sildenafil and could pose a serious health risk to anyone taking them. Counterfeiters often use toxic materials as filler material or coloring agents in manufacturing their look-alike drugs.

If you’d like to stay on top of the latest developments on the consumer health front, check out our blog.

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