A Kapolei business is a step closer to helping people identify counterfeit prescription pills using a smart phone application.
TruTag Technologies has been working on the tiny scan codes for more than a decade and it has passed several key regulatory steps.
The company hopes it could someday be a tool for preventing overdoses.
TruTag developed the technology that puts microtag markings – like scan codes – onto silicon wafers that are broken into thousands of pieces.
Those pieces are then mixed into the coating of each tablet.
The application reads the codes, which will be unique to each pill manufacturer.
The human eye cannot see the markers – but the app can.
“How do you know that what you’re getting is authentic? That is, has not been adulterated in some way,” said Craig Leidholm, chief operating officer at TruTag Technologies.
Leidholm said it could be valuable for people who choose to use online pharmacies because of the convenience.
Leidholm also hopes people who illegally share prescription pills and self medicate will use it to ensure the tablets they are taking are not counterfeit.
Fake pills containing fentanyl and other substances have caused deaths and overdoses, especially in young people.
“If you don’t know what you’re taking and your body’s not ready for it, it can shut down your respiratory system, ” said Anthony Chrysanthis, deputy special agent in charge with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
The TruTag technology is now in the patient testing phase with drug manufacturers. TruTag hopes the product can be widely available in the next few years.