We hear a lot about counterfeiting in the fashion industry but what about counterfeiting in more sinister fields? Fake medicine, which reportedly accounts for around 1 million deaths per year, is among one of the most serious forms of counterfeiting. It is great to learn, therefore, that there is a new weapon soon to be available which may prove profoundly effective in the fight against pharmaceutical counterfeiting,

The BBC’s Tomorrow’s World programme has reported that researchers from Lancaster University have created an innovative way to help combat this type of crime in the form of graphene (a one atom thick 2D carbon material). The graphene is used to create a 2D tag which can be applied to any surface and manipulated to create a unique identifier. The tag can be read by a specially developed smartphone app, which then matches the unique identifier with the manufacturer’s database, allowing consumers and law enforcers to tell instantly whether the product (be it technology, clothing or medicine) is genuine or fake. Whilst the technology can be applied to any type of product, it is hoped that it will be particularly useful in combatting counterfeit pharmaceuticals, since it is much harder to replicate than current anti-counterfeiting measures (such as holograms).

The new technology is expected on the market in early 2018…counterfeiters be warned!