Dubai: A new state-of-the-art machine unveiled by the Ministry of Health and Prevention will help bring down usage of counterfeit drugs in the country, a senior official said on Saturday.

The high-tech TruScan RM Analyzer, a modern detector used to detect counterfeit or low-quality drugs posing great health threats to the community, was unveiled by the ministry recently as part of its ongoing commitment to provide universal health coverage and social protection for all individuals.

The device is especially helpful to patients suffering from chronic diseases like heart ailment and cancer.

The TruScan RM Analyzer also enables drug inspection teams in the country to make informed and timely decisions concerning the release of drug shipments entering the UAE.

Dr Ameen Hussain Al Amiri, the ministry’s assistant undersecretary for Public Policy and Licensing, said the country has been fighting the spread of counterfeit medicines in the local market by implementing preventive measures, building a quality control laboratory, and conducting research on medical and other health products.

Ministry-employed pharmacists stationed in land, air and seaports are presently using the TruScan RM Analyzer.

He said that the ministry is planning to roll out the device in all local ports as it moves to employ more drug inspectors to prevent counterfeit and low-quality medicines from entering the country.

He also pointed out that the devices were distributed at Abu Dhabi Airport, Abu Dhabi Port and the border ports in Al Ain and Dubai International Airport.

According to Dr Al Amiri, the device performs accurate, reliable, and rapid verification of a broad range of chemical compounds. Significant information is stored in the device’s database to be used to identify and verify samples.

Weighing less than 900 grams, TruScan is easy to carry and use and it gives clear results in seconds depending on Raman radiation.

Further, through the device, inspectors can examine the chemicals without the risk of contamination and exposure, while minimising costly laboratory sampling tests.

Dr Al Amiri said the ministry will organise workshops and training programmes for drug inspectors, as well as build an up-to-date medicine database — from locally registered veterinary to human drugs — to guarantee proper device usage.

Many international organisations are currently using TruScan RM Analyzer. These include the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Saudi Food and Drug Administration (SFDA), the UK Medicines and Health Care Products Agency (MHRA), in addition to many pharmaceutical companies.

The distribution of counterfeit drugs greatly impacts the world’s medicine system and may lead to loss of public confidence in the international health care sector. The World Customs Organisation (WCO) has placed the value of counterfeit medicines at $200 billion a year globally.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention has been issuing weekly and monthly circulars to warn people against counterfeit medicines. It assured that a robust system is in place to closely monitor all pharmaceutical products entering the country.