High Potency – High Rewards, High Risks
Powerful new drugs are offering new hope to cancer patients, but can pose risks to the workers involved in their development and manufacture – including analytical scientists.
Houri Simonian |
The hazards facing operators in facilities that manufacture highly potent and other potentially dangerous drugs are widely recognized, and the need for containment and protection is well understood. Yet, these powerful drugs don’t just pose risks during manufacturing, but at any point where people might come into contact with the hazardous materials they contain – as such, analytical scientists are particularly at risk.
The greatest safety concerns center on highly potent active pharmaceutical ingredients (HPAPIs). An increasing number of HPAPIs are entering development and reaching the market, most commonly to treat cancer. The very qualities that help make these anticancer drugs so effective – cytotoxicity, high potency and a low daily dose – make them potentially dangerous for anyone handling them. In comparison to over-the-counter drugs, which may contain milligram to gram quantities of APIs, these more powerful drugs are active at micrograms per gram levels. Analyzing such highly potent drugs naturally comes with challenges.
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