Blog Post

Certificate of Analysis vs Expert Report

Understanding the scientific interpretation of test results can be challenging. It’s important to gain a clear understanding of results in order to act accordingly. In this blog, we take a detailed look at both a Certificate of Analysis and an Expert Report, to give an understanding of what you can expect for each and why so many of our clients recommend an Expert Report.

What is a Certificate of Analysis (CofA)?

A CofA is a document containing analysis results obtained from the testing performed and is offered as standard with no additional cost.

The results in the format of a CofA simply list the drugs and analytes that have been requested and if they have been ‘Detected’ or ‘Not Detected’ with a concentration value for the ‘Detected’ compounds. An approximate time period that is covered by the testing is also included.

A CofA will be accompanied by a covering letter summarising the results obtained.

As part of standard procedures, a CofA is still reviewed and issued by a Reporting Scientist and further interpretation in the form of an Expert Report can be requested at a later stage. No interpretation of results is provided with a CofA.

What is an Expert Report?

An Expert Report is a detailed report issued by an experienced Reporting Scientist, which provides a clear and concise interpretation of the analysis results to help you understand what they mean.

Expert Reports consider case specific information and detail the chain of custody procedure. Having an Expert Report can also assist in court proceedings to explain the results clearly and succinctly to help the court make critical decisions that affect lives.

In an Expert Report, you can find an explanation of the reporting cut-off levels, technical explanations including information on hair growth cycles, supporting studies for evidence and findings in the way of a summary from a Reporting Scientist.

Understanding the reporting cut-off levels is important as they differ depending on the drug that is being analysed. The Society of Hair Testing (SoHT) recommends cut-off levels to indicate chronic (repeated) use. Lextox applies these cut-off levels as the reporting cut-off level where applicable and this is detailed in the Expert Report.

Evidence and studies from external third parties also support the interpretations, which makes the report legally defensible.

An Expert Report from Lextox

At Lextox, we have an experienced team of Expert Witnesses with an extensive knowledge of interpreting hair drug and alcohol results. The reporting team have several years of laboratory and reporting experience of analysing samples and undertaking biological extraction and assessment techniques in accordance to ISO 17025 UKAS testing standards, which compliments their scientific degrees.

There is no doubt that the Expert Reports issued by our team of Reporting Scientists are not only fit for purpose, but go above and beyond to ensure that when you receive the analysis results for your case, you are also receiving a clear and concise interpretation of these to understand and present as evidence in court.  Our Expert Reports and analysis results are issued on average within 4 working days.

If you need any further clarification on our Experts Reports, our team of Experts are on hand to discuss the results and explain any outcomes that you may require clarification on.

If you would like more information on hair drug and alcohol reporting take a look at our most recent webinar here, which includes FAQs on results and reports.

To instruct hair drug or alcohol testing and include an Expert Report with your analysis results, you can request a quote here or call 029 2048 4141 to speak with your dedicated Client Support team.