Understanding HPLC Applications in the Pharmaceutical Industry

Currently, there are 131 million people in the United States who take prescription drugs. This equates to over 66% of all adults. Chances are that if you’re reading this that you are on some prescription medications.

One thing most people take for granted is how safe prescription medications are. But how can you be sure about what’s inside the medications you’re taking. Luckily for most people in the united state, their prescription drugs are heavily regulated and inspected for safety. They are also tested using HPLC equipment.

This provides one of the easiest and most efficient ways of being sure about what a solution is comprised of. The HPCL applications are mostly used to verify that medications are safe and contain the items that they claim to. HPCL can also be used to check the shelf stability and potency of the medication.

If you want a better understand of how the medications you take are tested for accuracy, then check out the rest of our article.

What Is HPLC?

Let’s answer the most obvious question what is HPLC?

HPLC stands for high-performance liquid chromatography. It is a method for determining what a mixture is made out of. It is typically used to test the validity of prescription medications. It is used in pharmaceutical quality control and is one of the most popular ways to test the items.

This is because once pharmaceuticals became more widely manufactured, more laws became needed to regulate the industry as well as to ensure that the drugs being handed out were uniform. It quickly became one of the most commonly used methods to ensure drug safety in the world.

Since the 1980s, this medication has been used to test medications on a mass scale. But its total usage depends on the country and its drug regulation board. The decreased frequency of its use depends on cost.

HPLC is usually more expensive because of how many steps are involved in the process. Before HPLC can be used, it must first have calibration tests done. These tests increase the costs, but they lead to more accurate results that meet all industry standards. These steps provide a stronger guarantee of purity than most other methods. 

Prior to HPLC, other methods, like the multiple crystallization method, were commonly used. Unfortunately, these methods would sometimes lead to drug waste. At the same time, HPLC is more effective at reducing drug waste. This potentially saves drug manufacturers millions of dollars each year.

Pharmaceuticals companies usually opt to get an HPLC certification. This ensures that the shareholders and the and government agencies ensure that their drugs have been tested and are safe.

The History of HPLC

The first use of HPLC was in 1903 by a Russian botanist named Mikhail Tsvet. He discovered the chromatographic technique by dividing pigments from plants into different bands on a variety of columns. The process continued to be refined through the 

HPLC showed itself to have many uses in the pharmaceuticals early on in its history. It is very versatile and can analyze antibiotics, alkaloids, and steroids. There are special challenges when dealing with steroids. This is because steroids are typically dispensed in creams and lotions. They are also frequently used in low doses.

It should also be noted the HPLC is used in more than just testing the final product. It is frequently utilized during the manufacturing process.

How Does the HPLC Process Work?

Let’s answer the most basic question, how does HPLC work?

HPLC is used to break up the stages of a liquid analyte or solid, without concern for its volatility or stability. Testing using HPLC concentrates on what occurs when the research compound is forced through a column in the HPLC machinery.

Different Types of HPLC

Let’s go over some HPLC basics. Though the process of HPLC can be very involved and difficult, we will provide a brief overview of the most commonly used types of HPLC.


Reverse-Phase is the most common type of HPLC. It is the most commonly used technique, and it typically separates moieties that are resistant. 


Denatured High-performance liquid chromatography or DHPLC is a type of HPLC testing that compares 2 distinct chromosomes inside a mixture. Denaturing HPLC is typically a temperature-sensitive test that determines if mutations are present.

How HPLC Can Help Keep Patients Safe 

According to the WHO (World Health Organization), counterfeit drugs present a serious threat to global safety. The Counterfit pharmaceutical industry is currently worth billions. This problem is so widespread that in 2009 Interpol (International Criminal Police Organization) found over 20 million pills in an illegal drug ring in China and other countries in Asia.

The role HPLC plays in keeping people safe is determined. It is used to see how shelf-stable medications, and it is used in testing uniformity. 

HPLC Applications: How is HPLC Commonly Used

Let’s go over some of the most common pharmaceutical applications of HPLC.

  • Testing medications for purity
  • Identifying compounds in a solution
  • Determining the types of molecular bonds inside a compound
  • Determining the amount of a particular compound inside a solution

One of the most commonly used HPLC applications is testing the strength of marijuana. But just how is cannabis tested for potency using HPLC? The HPLC machine is used to insulate the cannabinoids. These cannabinoids are then used to help observe which strain of cannabis you are dealing with.

Want More Ways to Keep Your Body Healthy

HPLC stands for High-performance liquid chromatography. It is a type of testing that is used to determine the makeup of specific compounds. The majority of HPLC applications are in the pharmaceutical industry.

HPLC tests allow you to feel safe while buying prescription drugs. They help you make better, more confident decisions as a health conscience consumer. If you want more ways to make the right choices about your health, then contact us today.

Kenneth Bennett Atticus

Atticus Bennett: Atticus, a sports nutritionist, provides dietary advice for athletes, tips for muscle recovery, and nutrition plans to support peak performance.