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Pharmaceutical industry

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To conclude, pharmaceutical industry is the core of health care system that deals with medication. This industry requires large investment as intensive research and development are needed to develop new medicines that are licensed for use of human and animals. New drugs are developed in order to cure and prevent diseases, reduce health problems and thus increase the lifespan of people. Global pharmaceutical market experienced steady growth in past years and the sales are expected to increase in the years to come.

In this assignment, the medicine we put into focus is aspirin, which is also known as acetylsalicylic acid. The reason we choose aspirin is because it is one of the most common and widely used medicine in the market. It is consumed to relieve pain and reduce fever, as well as to prevent stroke and heart attack. Aspirin is made up of four main ingredients, which are acetylsalicylic acid, corn starch, water and lubricant. In aspirin manufacturing, the processes include weighing, mixing, dry screening, compression, testing and bottling and packaging. To make sure aspirin tablets are produce with same dosage, many companies opt for production of aspirin in batch.

Even though acetylsalicylic acid can increase health when it is consumed in suitable amount, it is a toxic drug which affects respiratory alkalosis and cause fatigue. If it is consumed excessively, it will cause aspirin overdose. In the most extreme cases, aspirin overdose may cause death in children and may cause adults slip into coma. Therefore, many countries had introduced legislation to restrict the usage of acetylsalicylic acid in order to reduce the cases of overdose to a minimum. In United Kingdom, legislation is implemented to limit the number of aspirin tablets in a pack that is selling in the pharmacies as there are many cases of aspirin overdose. There was a report of 15 fewer deaths cause by salicylic after the law was implemented. Other than that, the number of liver transplantation caused by analgesics poisoning was reduced by 30%.

Analytical chemistry plays an important role in pharmaceutical industry in order to assure the quality of the medicine produced and indirectly confirm that the drug is safe to consume. Even though there are many techniques in analytical chemistry, such as titrimetry, spectroscopy, chromatography etc, some are highly specialized and may not be suitable to apply to every occasion. We focus on high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) as it is the most widely used analytical technique and is commonly used in medical, forensic, environmental and manufacturing labs. Even though it can be costly, HPLC is quite efficient, adaptable and relatively easy to use. It is used to test the products and to detect the raw ingredient used to make them. HPLC consists of a reservoir of mobile phase, a pump, an injector, a separation column, and a detector. To analyze the contents of a substance, a mobile phase and a stationary phase are needed. The contents of the aspirin must be analysed in order to know if it contains any impurities. In addition, the content of aspirin is analyzed to determine the concentration of the chemicals in the drugs and the degradation of the products. In analysing aspirin, reversed phase HPLC method is used. In reversed phase HPLC, aspirin are analysed based on its hydrophobicity. Compounds which are more polar will elute earlier as compare to less polar compounds. Steps to analyze include grinding the aspirin tablets into powder form and injecting the standard solution of aspirin sample into the column. The result obtain is the different retention time for different compounds. Compounds with the least interaction with the stationary phase will have shorter retention time to reach the detector in shorter period and vice versa.

Other than in pharmaceutical industry, HPLC can also be applied in many other industries such as food industry and forensic field. HPLC is used to quantify and detect the food analytes to make sure that the nutritional quality of the food is secured. Besides, HPLC can detect any disorders or diseases while determining the presence of drugs of abuse in clinical diagnosis. In environmental field, HPLC is used to identify organic pollutants in the environment by isolating the organic pollutants from complex mixtures that found in water, air and soil.

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