Pharmaceutical industry facing acute crisis owing to the world-wide shortage of Acetonitrile

The acute shortage of Acetonitrile is
caused by a series of events that took place in the year 2008. The production
of acetonitrile dropped significantly in China as they were busily involved in
hosting the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. To minimize air pollution, Chinese
factories producing Acetonitrile were asked to shut down. 

After the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the
export of Acetonitrile was minimized extensively with restrictions and bans
brought about the new import policies. 
During the same period, there were active hurricanes in the Gulf of
Mexico leading to an interruption in the manufacturing of Acetonitrile in
Texas. However, the most important setback on the manufacturing of acetonitrile
was brought about with the worldwide slowdown of the economy that began in the
year 2008.

pharmaceutical and chemical industry is facing a major hurdle with acute
shortage of acetonitrile. Acetonitrile is a major solvent that is used in
chromatographic analysis (HPLC). Acetonitrile has been widely used for quality
control analysis in the pharmaceutical industry. Quality control analysis of
finished products plays a pivotal role before the medications can be released
in batches.

most parts of the world, acetonitrile, which is a form of cyanide, is generally
obtained as a by product during the manufacture of plastic components, which
are used extensively in the automobile industry. The by-product obtained during
the manufacturing of plastic is subjected to refining process in order to synthesize

the supply of acetonitrile is decreasing exponentially, pharmaceutical
companies that use acetonitrile in HPLC and other chromatrographic processes
have been asked to manage their supplies of this material. They have also been
asked to investigate the wastage of this pure solvent in industrial refining

companies that manufacture solid dose medications are usually quite successful
in recovering back acetonitrile solvent from a mixture of waste solvents. But,
companies that are involved in the manufacture of sterile liquid injectables
cannot recover acetonitrile liquid in the pure form but in the aqueous form.

the supplies of acetonitrile are continuously declining, most pharmaceutical
companies consider it is quite important to recycle the HPLC solvent waste
containing recoverable Acetonitrile rather than subjecting it to traditional

order to cope with the world-wide shortage of acetonitrile solvent, all
pharmaceutical companies have been asked to build up a pooling system that
contains their HPLC wastes. The overall bulk of HPLC waste solvent will be then
subjected to recovery processes so that the acetonitrile solvent is recyclable
and reusable.

acetonitrile from the HPLC solvent waste may not actually form the crux of the
solution. However, pharmaceutical companies will be at least able to deal with
the acute shortage of acetonitrile solvent that is used extensively in HPLC

this way, the supplies of acetonitrile will be able to last for a relatively
longer period of time. Meanwhile, pharmaceutical companies are exploring other
alternative laboratory techniques such as UPLC for the process of testing and
quality control of products. They are also devising other kinds of solvents
that could be used in place of acetonitrile.

In conclusion, the
pharmaceutical industry is feeling the pinch of finding alternate solutions to
overcome the present shortage of Acetonitrile solvent. So, innovations in
analytical procedures used for testing and validating drugs are advised. Several
research techniques are being devised to bring about reduction in the extensive
use of acetonitrile solvent. Analytical techniques are also being modified in a
way that acetonitrile solvent can be replaced successfully.  The global shortage of acetonitrile solvent
has urged the need to bring about innovation and optimization.