Paper Analytical Device (PAD) Project

There are 30,000 pharmaceutical manufacturers producing products for export, and 10% of those products are thought to be fake or substandard. The problem is that people cannot see inside a pill to tell if it is bad quality, so buying decisions are based on price. Manufacturers who cut corners or make fake products to reduce costs gain an unfair advantage. Astonishingly, there is no global program to monitor the quality of drugs—only piecemeal programs that protect specific supply chains or branded products. 

The paper analytical device, or PAD, could help to solve this problem. It is an inexpensive paper test card that performs a library of chemical or biochemical tests to detect different components of pharmaceutical dosage forms. Our goal is to build a global system for monitoring the quality of all drugs listed by WHO as essential medicines.      

Research Focus

  • Biochemistry

    At the EIGH, our researchers use biochemistry - or the study of chemical substances and their vital role within living organisms - to combat various global health challenges, such as antibiotic resistance and counterfeit drugs.

Who’s Involved

EIGH Faculty

Global Partners

  • Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare (AMPATH), Eldoret, Kenya
  • Directorate General for Drug Administration, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • EFMHACA, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • FHI 360
  • Kenyan Pharmacy and Poisons Board, Nairobi, Kenya
  • Management Science for Health, Tanzania
  • Pharmacy, Medicines, and Poisons Board, Lilongwe, Malawi
  • Tanzanian Food and Drug Administration, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

University of Notre Dame Partnerships

  • Center for Research Computing
  • Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry 

Additional Information

Capstone Projects

Carpenter, J. (2016). Antibiotic Analysis Using Paper Test Cards for the Improvement of Global Health.

Scott, A. (2013). Development of Training Program for Detection of Poor Quality Medicines in Resource Limited Settings.





















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