The Importance of Endotoxin Testing

The Importance of Endotoxin Testing

Andrew Taylor, ARL Bio Pharma Microbiology Supervisor

In recent years, there have been instances of endotoxin-caused illness resulting from contaminated compounded sterile preparations. In 2015, an incident occurred where seven cases of endotoxin poisoning were related to contaminated glutathione infusions.

Importance of Forced Degradation...

Pharmacists often want to assign a beyond-use date (BUD) on a drug product longer than USP guidelines to increase compounding efficiencies and reduce drug waste. For accurate BUD assignment, Stability-indicating methods are recommended as opposed to Potency methods. Stability-indicating methods are specifically designed to separate drug degradants from non-degraded drug (for more information about the difference between the two methods, see Stability vs. Potency testing article).

Container Closure Integrity Testing

ARL now offers USP <1207> container closure integrity testing (CCIT) on IV bags, syringes, and vials.


Three types of leaks that can be detected during CCIT include:  

  • entry of microorganisms
  • escape of the product dosage form or entry of liquids or solids
  • escape of nitrogen gas or entry of oxygen, water vapor, or air gases

Prevent Future Sterility...

James Zellner, Technical Sales


Identification of a contaminant in a sterile preparation is vital to determining the origin of the microorganism and its avenue of entry.  The organism’s identity, combined with environmental monitoring data, provides actionable information to improve a pharmacy’s processes and prevent future contamination.

Potency Test Failure...

Common compounding problems causing a sample to fail: case studies
Berenice Dethier, Research Chemist II

A potency test measures the amount of API in a formulation to ensure the product is within its specifications. Criteria for acceptance are set by the client and/or follow the industry benchmarks (generally set by USP).

Several factors can contribute to a failing potency result.  Investigating the root cause of the failing potency test is an important practice to characterize the true cause(s) of the failure. The goal of the out of specification (OOS) investigation is to identify what, how, and why the failure occurred. To answer all three questions, OOS investigations should include a comprehensive review of all aspects of the formulation procedure. The review typically includes everything between the acceptability of the raw materials to the validity of the potency test result. Understanding the factors that contributed to the potency failure allows the pharmacist a more strategic approach in eliminating future failures. The more specific the findings into the failure, the easier it is to properly address.

Sterility Test Failure: Possible Causes...

A sterility test detects microbial contamination and provides data to determine if your product is ready for release.  A “Sterile” result indicates no contaminating microorganism is found in the sample. A “Not Sterile” result indicates microbial growth and the product examined does not comply with the test for sterility, unless it is demonstrated that the test is invalid. An investigation is performed to determine if a sterility failure is invalid due to laboratory error. 

Drug Diversion: Revealing the Truth through Science

Drug diversion is the illegal practice of transferring regulated pharmaceutical agents from legal sources for illicit use.  Instances of drug diversion within the workplace pose a significant risk of civil liability to the employer.  Not only can harm befall the drug-diverter, but contaminated drug products also pose a significant threat to patients including risk of infection, allergic response to substituted components within the drug product, and death. 

How Does Microbial ID Benefit Your Pharmacy?

ARL Bio Pharma How Does Microbial ID Benefit Your Pharmacy?

Microbial identification is an important component of a quality assurance program; specifically as it relates to environmental monitoring (EM), raw material and final product bioburden assessment, and out-of-specification (OOS) investigations.

The Essentials of USP Chapter <51>

The Essentials of United States Pharmacopeia Chapter <51> Antimicrobial Effectiveness Testing and Its Application in Pharmaceutical Compounding

Antimicrobial preservatives are excipients added to multi-dose containers of both sterile and nonsterile drug products. Antimicrobial preservatives are used primarily to inhibit growth of microbial contamination occurring during the period of use. Demonstration of antimicrobial preservative effectiveness is required for these functional excipients. This article reviews key factors for consideration in the selection of preservatives, principles of the preservative-effectiveness test, and the significance of requirements for preservative-effectiveness testing in the compounding practice.

Drug Formulation and The Impact on Analytical Testing

Some of the same challenges in creating a formulation are also related to getting accurate and representative results from your Analytical Testing.  This article outlines how to avoid some common issues to help ensure your formulation is safe and effective for patients.