An advanced guide to active pharmaceutical ingredients

What is an active pharmaceutical ingredient?

Active pharmaceutical ingredients commonly known as APIs are biologically active ingredients that are contained in medicines. They are the part of the drug that produces the intended medicinal effect to cure the disease; some treatments may include multiple active ingredients to treat the symptoms while others may require just one or two. API forms the central ingredient of any drug, while the other core components are the excipients which are pharmacologically inactive substances and are used only as a carrier of the API in the medicine.

The APIs of the particular drug will be written and explained in the package. It’s important for the consumers to check the content of the drug rather than focusing on the frequency of the drug intake. Neglecting the content of the drug is the main reason why the consumers fail to get the desired effect.  Hence, it is important to understand the active pharmaceutical ingredients and take the medicine as prescribed to get its maximum effect and be relieved from any symptoms soon.

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The difference between API, raw material and intermediate

APIs, raw materials, excipients, and intermediates are the core component of any drug. The difference between each of them are discussed in detail.

APIs: APIs are the biologically active substances present in the drug that is intended to provide the pharmacological activity or show direct effects in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention of diseases, or any affect on the function and structure of the body.

Intermediates: Pharmaceutical intermediates are the chemical compounds used in the production of APIs. Intermediates can be converted into APIs by molecular change or refinement. Depending on the requirement, intermediates can be separated during the process or can be retained for any further conversion to APIs.

Excipients: Excipients are the component of the drug which are carrier of the APIs and pharmacologically inactive substances. They are important component in drug formulation as they provide bulkiness, stability, facilitates absorption of the drug, and prevents denaturation of the drug. They are generally stable, inert, and cost-effective.

Raw materials: Pharmaceutical raw materials are the chemical compound from which the APIs are formulated. The API is not made by only one reaction from the raw materials but it requires a series of chemical reaction befores it is labelled as an API. The chemical compound which is in the process of becoming an API from a raw material is called an intermediate.

How APIs are made?

APIs are produced from the respective raw materials in the large pharmaceutical reactors. The production of API is not a single step process, but involves a series of reaction to finally get the desired API. The chemical compound formed from the raw material at various reaction step are the intermediates, which can be further used to produce the final API or can be discarded if needed. The API produced at the end is undergone numerous process to obtain high-purity compound. Since, the obtained compound is for pharmaceutical purpose, any kind of compromise on the quality and purity is strictly prohibited.

Key players in the global APIs market

  • Pfizer Inc.
  • Novartis International AG
  • Merck & Co.
  • Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.
  • Mylan N.V.
  • AstraZeneca
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • GlaxoSmithKline plc

Benefits of the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients

APIs form the core of the global pharmaceutical industry, some of the uses are listed below.

  • Used in drug formulation
  • Core ingredient in drug manufacturing
  • Active component to diagnose or cure the disease
  • Offers better understanding of the drug and its action
  • Major contribution to the pharmaceutical market

API importance in drug manufacturing

API is the active component of the drug which leads to diagnosis or curing of the disease. Drug manufacturing is impossible without the presence of the API in the formulation. The other parts of the drug such as intermediates and excipients alone cannot cure the symptoms, hence, the drug manufacturing is purely dependent on the APIs. It is important for the API to be ultrapure, otherwise, the medicine will be rejected on the basis of quality and purity violation. Once the drug is formulated and gets clearance from the regulatory authorities for compliance of quality and purity, it is delivered to drug stores and hospitals for it to reach the patients.

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Where to buy Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) in India?

The pharmaceutical industry is one of the largest supply chains with ever-increasing end-users. One of the major challenges faced by the Indian pharmaceutical companies is the APIs procurement process. To ease this tedious process of API supply to the pharmaceutical companies, digital platforms like have changed the course of the chemical procurement chain in India. Gone are the days when you had to take the hassle of finding a trustworthy supplier/manufacturer/dealer, negotiating the price, and arriving on a common term after hours of disagreements; the entire process can be completed with a few clicks using your phone or laptop, with advanced features like buying only from verified suppliers, real-time price comparison, secured online payment, and door delivery within the estimated time. Try the new digital trend and buy chemicals online; you will be amazed by how simple and efficient this process is.

The emerging digital platforms is the new trend in the Indian chemical industry. Previously, the chemical purchase was done directly from the supplier, manufacturer, or the third-party dealer. This was the long-followed trend which is changing slowly for the good. Before the introduction of digital trends, buyers faced challenges of chemical availability, price transparency, unknown suppliers’ risk, and vulnerability of third-party dealers. Online chemical platforms like have made way for better chemical purchase/sales; the risks and challenges faced previously are now negligible. Choose to buy APIs in India, and any other chemical requirements you have.