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Pharma Capsules
Brief pharmaceutical news items for May 2009.

Pharmaceutical Technology
Volume 33, Issue 5, pp. 100

Milestones

IDC Focuses on Pharmaceuticals

Industrial Dynamics/filtec (IDC, Torrance, CA) is now placing special focus on the needs of the pharmaceutical industry. After exhibiting at the INTERPHEX shows in Puerto Rico and New York, the company affirmed its commitment to finding solutions for the pharmaceutical industry.

IDC has tailored specific research and development projects for the pharmaceutical industry's specialized applications. The projects include developing laser coding equipment that complies with ePedigree requirements and creates barcodes, two-dimensional matrices, and graphics.

INTERPHEX 2009 Draws Industry Professionals

INTERPHEX staff, representatives of professional groups, and members of the press attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony on the opening day of INTERPHEX 2009 (see below). The well-attended show began with a keynote address by G. Steven Burrill, CEO of Burrill and Company, who spoke about the future of healthcare and the trends affecting the global industry. Senior executives from Big Pharma engaged in a panel discussion about how they are handling current challenges. Participants also described their vision of the future of pharmaceutical manufacturing.

BASi Receives Patent for Drug-Infusion System

BASi (West Lafayette, IN) received a patent for its Empis device and method for hands-free drug delivery to animals. Part of the Culex family of modular, software-linked products, the Empis Automated Drug Infusion System can be used alone or with the Culex Automated In Vivo Sampling System.


Attendees at the INTERPHEX ribbon-cutting ceremony included (from left) Mike Tracey, publisher of Pharmaceutical Technology; Cindy Strachan, director of industry development for INTERPHEX; Pete Zezima, group sales director for INTERPHEX; RJ Palermo, industry vice-president for INTERPHEX; Bob Best, president and CEO of the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering; Mike Kelly, publisher of Pharmaceutical Processing; Christine Zahn, director of marketing for INTERPHEX; and Weijun Gu, president of the Chinese Pharmaceutical Association for Plant Engineering.
Empis can be used for drug delivery, as a perfusion device, and for automated bile collection. Empis uses a fluid subsystem with a switching device to deliver multiple drugs to an animal without causing contamination.

Q&A



Tony Stauffer, president of Packaging Technologies and Inspection

PharmTech:

What is the biggest industry challenge you're now facing?

Stauffer:

One of the biggest challenges is convincing companies to replace their destructive methods of package-integrity and leak testing with nondestructive technology. Many destructive test methods were developed and approved for use decades ago, before better technologies were available. New technologies are significantly more advanced, provide valuable data that will improve manufacturing processes, and reduce overall costs. Subjective testing can provide misleading results that vary from operator to operator. We think the industry needs nondestructive, noninvasive systems that provide repeatable, reliable results and use the American Society for Testing and Materials's (ASTM) test methods, which are recognized by the US Food and Drug Administration. Destructive test methods without a data stream are being replaced by systems that conform to a standard such as ASTM's. The pharmaceutical industry has recognized the demand for better, faster inspection methods that cost less over time because they produce less waste.

PharmTech:

Do you see a new industry trend emerging?

Stauffer:

First, prefilled syringes are one of the most critical ready-to-use products in the pharmaceutical industry today. Also, the use of flexible packaging in pharmaceuticals has grown considerably. Flexible packaging such as pouches, sachets, and stick packs are now used for dry and liquid products. Seal-integrity issues are extremely critical for liquid-filled flexible packaging. Also, blister packaging is the preferred packaging medium for tablets and capsules because it's practical and helps consumers maintain a dosing schedule. Inspecting blister packs presents a challenge because of the small amount of headspace in the cavity.

In general, the pharmaceutical packaging industry is demanding inspection technologies that offer versatility. Companies want a reliable, all-around leak-testing solution that can be implemented at various stages of the drug-manufacturing process, starting at the bulk-packaging level. Also, nondestructive methods such as vacuum decay or airborne ultrasound offer a measurable advantage because testing can be performed in any sequence and even repeatedly on a single sample. Destructive tests, on the other hand, are definitely limited.

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