The very first thing that any mention of the pharmaceutical brings to mind is the products manufactured by the companies which are a part of the industry. From generic medicines to specialty drugs and everything in between, the produce of pharma industry is nothing short of lifesaving in every sense of the word. As the world steps into a phase of inflation, the fluctuation in the prices of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) has left many a people thinking of the impact it might have on the price of medicines. But what are these APIs? We turned to Sanjeev Nanda, MD of Dubai-based Pharm Aid, to decode them.

People consume different medicines for different ailments, but what makes those medicines work effectively is the API contained by it. Explaining the science behind APIs, Sanjeev Nanda said that APIs are the most important ingredients put into the making of any medicine, since they comprise of the actual compound in the medicine that is going to address the issue for which the medicine is being consumed. Some medicines carry the name of their API, such as in the case of paracetamol. These APIs are mixed with other ingredients called the excipients, which add colour, volume, and flavour to the medicine.

Elucidating the importance that APIs hold in the pharma manufacturing process, Sanjeev Nanda revealed that the API market alone is a multi-billion-dollar market. Largely produced in big-scale manufacturing plants, APIs are created through complex chemical processes that involve several steps. While several pharma companies earlier used to formulate and manufacture APIs in their home countries, the rapid globalization has enabled many global pharma giants to outsource their API manufacturing process to Asia, where skilled labour costs are relatively lesser than the rest of the world. As a result, India and China are now ruling the global API production, being the largest API producers in the world.

However, irrespective of the geographical location of manufacturing of APIs, it is important to ensure that the quality of these compounds is never compromised. They have to meet the safety criterion of the countries where the end users are located. Therefore, the APIs to be sold in the US need to be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the drugs to be sold in the European markets need to meet the standards of the European Medicines Agency, and so on. In addition to this, the entities involved in the entire API supply chain need to abide by the rules and regulations put in place by the local authorities. After all, the main objective behind manufacturing APIs is to help people live a healthy life.


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