Chemical Inventory Management: Another Layer of Quality Control in Pharmaceutical Production
Picking up a bottle of acetaminophen from a local supermarket, one would expect the medication within the bottle to be the same as the medicine purchased weeks ago from the same company. The concept of “slight variations” might be fine for certain food products. However, variance in pharmaceutical interventions can arouse the suspicion of consumers and regulators. As the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) writes on its website, “The pharmaceutical quality control laboratory serves one of the most important functions in pharmaceutical production and control,” and a significant component of this quality control involves testing medications and their chemical derivatives for consistency.
In today’s increasingly globalized economy, however, in which multinational offices span the globe and regulatory rules and modifications can seem to be in constant flux, it becomes even more necessary for pharmaceutical companies to employ careful chemical inventory management practices in order to maintain the consistency touted by the FDA. These issues become even more pressing in the context of pharmaceutical companies working in developing or Third World economies. As stated in an article for Public Policy and Administration Research, “[In these economies] governments often establish weak institutions, processes and structures to control pharmaceutical products manufacturing, distribution and drug prescribing…” Companies with outposts in countries that score high for corruption or government inefficiency should then be especially diligent in maintaining the quality of their products irrespective of where these companies are doing business.
Chemical inventory management to the rescue: Using careful chemical inventory management so there’s nothing to hide
Employing the use of an effective chemical management system has many advantages and is a powerful means to help maintain the consistency and quality of pharmaceutical medicines by carefully monitoring the ‘base ingredients’ of medications. Following are more specific ways a chemical inventory management system can improve safety compliance as well as the quality of chemical materials:
- Manage chemicals from receipt through disposal, while also improving productivity
As Chemist magazine reports, “Now, most companies use multiple techniques such as high-throughput screening, robotics, and combinatorial chemistry to generate as wide an array of chemical compounds as possible with the ultimate goal of finding just a few compounds as possible.” Between the management of new chemicals and compounds, there must also be careful testing of old or rather “known” chemicals that are used to develop existing drugs and therapies. Thus, the challenges of organizing and keeping track of the many chemicals being produced in pharmaceutical processes prove significantly more challenging today. Chemical inventory management systems take care of this problem by recording a barcode for each product entered into a database thus enabling researchers to track chemicals throughout their product lifetimes. This is a significant step forward that will save time otherwise spent locating chemicals.
- Maintain the quality of your chemical compounds and thus, products
Given the barcoding capabilities of very good chemical inventory management systems, researchers and interested parties can also monitor expiration dates and chemical shelf life information. For example, there have been controversies related to the use of expired or substandard materials in third world countries. As chemicals near their chemical expiration dates, researchers should also run established tests to ensure that the bioactivity and other properties of the compounds have not been compromised. Especially when integrated with an electronic laboratory notebook, this information can be seamlessly tracked and the appropriate measures taken when test results come back below standard.
- Real-time monitoring of chemical compounds
Beyond the ease with which researchers can search for a chemical compound, a good chemical inventory management system will also maintain a listing of the most often-used chemicals in real-time, thus alerting workers when new materials should be ordered. Reports with SDS information, the location of a given chemical, vendor name, CAS#, etc. can also be easily generated, which further ensures the quality of the materials used. Given that this information can also be configured and managed in multiple languages, the use of a chemical inventory management system prevents information from being “lost in translation,” which can also compromise the integrity of materials and subsequently the products produced.
Choose a best practices chemical inventory management system
In today’s modern pharmaceutical firms, it’s crucial that accurate chemical inventory management is at the heart of production and practices. At BIOVIA, our consultants have years of experience with chemical inventory management in laboratories across the world and in a wide array of industries. To determine how BIOVIA CISPro can assist your company in maintaining the quality of its products via careful chemical management, please visit our website today.