Use of active pharmaceuticals in industrial processes

Currently, Asian nations are the largest API producers. The bulk of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients companies are headquartered or formed in India.

Use of active pharmaceuticals in industrial processes
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By Naveen Kulkarni

The pharmaceutical industry has recently become one of the most developed sectors. According to the Indian Economic Survey, the domestic pharmaceutical market is projected to grow to $120-130 billion by 2030. One of the causes that have fueled the sector’s expansion has been the progressive advancement of science and technology. Like other industrial sectors, the pharmaceutical business has moved toward creating more sustainable manufacturing methods, products, and processes.

Furthermore, continuous production aligns with material and energy recycling, simplified real-time process control, decreased process and transit time, lower stocks, simpler scale-up, and elimination of batch-to-batch variance. It is natural to integrate all unit operations into a single end-to-end continuous manufacturing system involving the synthesis of the active pharmaceutical ingredient unless specific restrictions exist (API).

Types of active pharmaceutical ingredients

APIs are divided into two types, synthetic and natural. Synthetic APIs are further categorized based on the kind of synthesis utilised into inventive and generic synthetic APIs. Synthetic chemical APIs, often known as small molecules, account for a significant portion of the pharmaceutical sector, with several small-molecule medications commercially accessible.

Natural APIs are used to manufacture biologics, rapidly becoming the market’s best-selling pharmaceuticals. Despite rising demand, biologics are still much less common than small-molecule medications. APIs are classified as insoluble or soluble based on their solubility.

Active Pharmaceuticals Ingredient (APIs)

Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients are the bulk pharmaceuticals becoming a buzzword in the green chemistry paradigm shift. Simply put, it is a chemical molecule found in medications used to diagnose, cure, mitigate, and treat illnesses. The active component for pain relief, for instance, is included in the painkiller. It’s known as API. Because even a little amount has a profound effect, just a small amount of this active component is present in the drug. Furthermore, the dosage and name of the medication are printed on the package of over-the-counter pharmaceuticals.

In addition, every single drug is made up of two main components: API, which is the main ingredient, and a chemically and physiologically active substance that aids in the transport of the treatment to the body system. The excipient, on the other hand, is a chemically inactive ingredient in the tablet, such as mineral oil or lactose—the excipient assists API in delivering medicine to the body.

Active Pharmaceuticals are not created in a single reaction from basic materials but through a series of chemical reactions. An intermediate is a chemical compound that is in the process of converting from a raw material to an API. Many intermediates are sometimes created before the final API is synthesised. Because API manufacturers use precise guidelines to determine how strong it is in each medicine. However, it varies significantly across brands. Each brand may employ various testing strategies, which may result in varying potencies. In every situation, the FDA requires manufacturers to demonstrate the efficacy of their medications in real-world patients as well as in lab circumstances.

Despite high production costs, tight regulatory laws, and medication price control policies in many countries, significant prospects in the API industry have surfaced due to rising chronic illnesses such as diabetes, asthma, and cancer. As a result, the production of these APIs has promoted the release of chemicals into the environment, resulting in the spread of pollution. Concurrently, this massive pollutant creation has drawn international attention, necessitating an immediate change in rules and regulations. Thereby, contemplating the unfavourable effects of these chemical channels that are responsible for creating API, the pharmaceutical corporations are providing consent to the microbial-based fermentation utilising bacteria or yeast. As a result, reliable manufacturers are required to decrease the risk associated with API generation.

Manufacturer: The Need of the Hour

Currently, Asian nations are the largest API producers. The bulk of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients companies are headquartered or formed in India. However, because the bulk of beginning materials are generated in Asian nations, it is the source of the majority of APIs worldwide. APIs are often manufactured in powder form and then sold in large quantities to pharmaceutical makers.

APIs must meet the quality and safety requirements specified by the producing country. Even if manufacturing is outsourced, API producers must adhere to the tight guidelines of the relevant health authorities. For instance, if it is made in Japan for distribution in the United States, it will still be subject to FDA scrutiny. Because rules are evolving, producers must stay up to speed on API regulatory benchmarks. In a nutshell, with the shifting industrial period, API is becoming the most critical raw material in the production of final pharmaceuticals.

(The author is a CEO, Quantumzyme. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the

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First published on: 28-12-2022 at 11:00 IST