DNA tags added to excipients during the manufacture of tablets remain stable and can be used for authentication – even after months of challenging environmental conditions.

The study conducted by scientists at King’s College London in collaboration with Dubai Police and Applied DNA Sciences – which supplied the tags – is thought to be the first to assess adding DNA markers directly into a powder excipient mix.

The researchers used standard pharmaceutical processing equipment to manufacture the 400mg lactose tablets, and found that the physical properties of the resulting pills – such as their hardness, uniformity and tendency to chip or crumble on compression – was unaffected by the DNA tags