Pollen grains and a mite (centre) found in fake pharmaceuticals (image: Dallas Mildenhall)
Although fake pharmaceuticals are not yet a major concern in New Zealand, they are a huge problem in other parts of the world. One way to detect a non-genuine drug is by identifying fake holograms on the packaging (pdf). Last week on Our Changing World, Dallas Mildhenhall from the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences explained how tiny pollen grains and spores can be used to help solve criminal cases. He has also pioneered their use in detecting fake pharmaceuticals, like anti-malarials, as a recent article in the New York Times outlined.