We provide this analysis for pharmaceutical companies to determine the amount of elemental impurities and migration in drugs products.

The test method involves an accelerated test procedure to encourage leaching of specified elements from the glass inner surface. These elements are defined by the ICH Q3D as elements to be quantified with defined limits within the document itself.

To address issues surrounding extractables, the ICH (international council for harmonization of technical requirements for pharmaceutical for human use) produced guidance to limit metal impurities in drug products and ingredients. The ICH Q3D guideline was developed to include a list of specific metals to be limited and appropriate limits for these metals.

There are different ways elemental impurities can end up in the drug product:

  • Manufacturing Equipment
  • Drug Substance
  • Water
  • Excipients
  • Container Closure System

There are four categories of elemental impurities:

  • A) Residuals resulting from elements intentionally added
  • B) Not intentionally added but potentially present
  • C) Potentially introduced from manufacturing equipment
  • D) Potentially leached from container closure system

In order to quantify the impurity levels, we use pharmacopoeia procedures such as surface testing to encourage leaching from the surface. This is then followed by analysis of the extract using techniques such as ICP-OES.

Extractable elements analysis leadership and expertise

We have over 40 years’ combined experience in performing chemical and pharmaceutical testing for world-leading brands in the glass and pharmaceutical industries. Our experts have published scientific papers in this area and are members of the TC2 and TC12 technical committees.

View the full leadership team
Amy Ashton

Amy Ashton

Chemistry Laboratory Manager
Amy manages the chemistry department at Glass Technology Services and is a leading expert in chemical durability and elemental migration. Amy also assists the Quality Department as Technical Quality Manager. Read More

Areas of expertise:

Pharmaceutical glass packaging Quality assurance Method development and validation
Abby Mills

Abby Mills

Senior Technologist
Abby has over 5 years' experience in Chemistry and Analytical techniques with glass materials, her main focus being ICP-OES analysis of heavy metals in glass and trace elemental analysis, as well as providing a range of analysis for the pharmaceutical industry. Read More
Will Smith

Will Smith

Senior Technical Analyst
Will has over 6 years of experience in the glass industry, focusing on chemical and analytical techniques. His focus being pharmacopoeia and the suitability of glass products for the pharmaceutical industry. Read More

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