Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Criminal Justice


John A. Reffner, Ph.D.

Subject Categories

Intellectual Property Law | International Law | Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences


counterfeit drugs, GC-MS, infrared, IP rights, pharmaceutical innovation, Raman


Counterfeit drugs threaten public health and present unique and complex challenges to the criminal justice system and the field of forensic science. Theft of intellectual property in the pharmaceutical industry has caused sickness and death, and it is necessary that the perpetrators of these crimes are brought to justice. In some cases, threats to health and safety are short term; in others they are long term. This research describes these threats in detail.

The problem is complex, and there are many important factors that need to be considered to successfully address the problem. Public-health challenges, drug-development challenges, legal challenges, issues of public policy, and financial considerations are all important aspects of the problem that need to be understood. This research describes these details so that appropriate solutions can be proposed.

The field of forensic science struggles to establish analytical methods to identity composition and establish provenance of counterfeit goods. No method has been shown to be universally applied to achieve this goal. The use of field-portable instruments to detect and identify counterfeits in the field is important emerging technology. These instruments must work quickly and accurately. This research defines the challenges faced by the field of forensic science and proposes methods that may be used to address these challenges. This will enable forensic scientists to provide support to law enforcement and other members of the criminal justice and legal systems to successfully investigate and adjudicate these crimes.