High tech made by Roche
Parenterals from Mannheim
There's some serious technology inside...
Bottling facilities need to be robust in order to withstand the high throughput rates. At the same time, they must also be extremely precise and ensure sterile bottling conditions.
So what exactly are "parenterals"?
These are sterile drug solutions for injection or infusion. In other words, these drugs can be administered directly into the patient's bloodstream. In parenteral production, it is very important to ensure that no germs or contaminants enter the drug vials during bottling, as this could have life-threatening consequences for the patient.
A special formula
A drug normally consists of the active ingredient itself, as well as pharmaceutical excipients like WFI water (water for injection) and salts (such as sodium chloride). These serve as drug carriers or stabilisers, for example.
Highly effective cancer treatment drugs…
…are Roche's speciality. The company has also launched several other drugs on the market, for example, to treat viral and inflammatory diseases, metabolic disorders and diseases of the central nervous system.
Effective administration is half the battle
The form in which a drug is best administered or applied depends both on the drug itself and on the disease it is used to treat. The best-known routes of administration are via the mouth (oral), the veins (intravenous), the muscles (intramuscular), the skin (subcutaneous) and directly into the blood (parenteral). Many other administration routes also exist.
And Mannheim has been busy churning these out at high speed!
That's no exaggeration – every minute, between 40 and 400 glass vials are filled with sterile drugs, referred to as parenterals, at the production plant there. The speed differs depending on the product.
Galenics – a science in its own right
The science of formulating and preparing medicines is known as galenics. It involves determining both the appropriate administration route and the right packaging (dosage form) for each active ingredient and excipient. Different dosage forms are used, depending on the application, i.e., tablet, capsule, sugar-coated pill, powder, plaster, spray, emulsion or tincture, to name just a few.
Playing it safe!
Production plants for manufacturing drugs are required to comply with strict safety regulations. To ensure compliance, they following good manufacturing practices (GMP).
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Photographer: Philipp Wente