The commerce of illegal and counterfeit medicinal products on internet is a serious criminal problem. Drugs for erectile dysfunction such as phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor are the most commonly counterfeited medicines in Europe. The search of possible toxic chemical substances in seized products is needed. Moreover, the profiling of the material can be the source of relevant forensic information. For the first time a combined approach based on liquid chromatography (LC) coupled to high resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) and instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA) is proposed and tested, allowing characterisation of both authentic and illegal pharmaceuticals containing sildenafil seized in Italy. LC-HRMS allowed the detection and identification of unknown impurities not reported on labels in illegal products and the quantitation of the sildenafil. INAA showed to be suitable to provide both qualitative and quantitative information for forensic purposes on 23 elements, allowing discrimination between legal and illegal products.
- Forensic analysis
- High resolution mass spectrometry
- Illegal pharmaceutical products
- Neutron activation analysis