Pharmaceutical Raw Material Identification by FT-NIR Spectroscopy

Galaxy Scientific Application Note: Counterfeit Drug Screening/Pharmaceutical Raw Material

Within the globalized pharmaceutical raw material supply chain, there is an increasing public health concern of raw material adulteration, contamination, or mislabeling, especially with recent incidents such as the adulteration of heparin. This has driven regulatory bodies to update their guidelines. Chapter 5.33 of the latest GMP guidelines for Medicinal Products for Human Use, provided by the European Commission (EC), entitled “Eudralex,” specifies that “there should be appropriate procedures or measures to assure the identity of the contents of each container of starting material .” This means that all raw materials used in pharmaceutical manufacture must be analyzed and this has to be done for every single container. The raw materials not only have to be identified, but also tested to ensure they meet certain specifications.

Traditionally, multiple methods have been used for individual raw material analysis, including spectroscopic methods like UV-Vis and mid-infrared, chromatographic methods like TLC, HPLC, GC, and wet chemical analysis methods. Each method takes at least five minutes. This is very time consuming, with several steps required for adding different materials. In addition, the cost of consumables (chemicals, solvents, etc.) contributes to the increased cost of the final product.

Near-infrared spectroscopy (FT-NIR), on the other hand, is rapid, non-destructive, and can be used for most organic compound identification and quantitative analysis. Samples can be non -invasively analyzed directly through plastic bags or glass vials, with no sample preparation and no cross contamination. The measurement takes a few seconds to return both qualitative and quantitative analyses. Since 2002, a number of guidelines, such as US Pharmacopoeia, European Pharmacopoeia, and EMEA, have advised the use of NIR spectroscopy as a universal method for raw material identification and assay.

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