Drug Quality Control
State of the art technology
The methods currently used, such as spectrophotometric-based analysis (UV) and mainly liquid chromatography (LC) entail numerous important drawbacks making them difficult to be used efficiently in daily practice.
Major problems are related to:
the availability of reference substances,
the maintenance of analytical instruments,
the availability and costs of consumables.
There is an urgent need for simple, reliable and (cost-)efficient drug control methods. Chromatographic methods such as LC suffer in this specific context from being rather expensive and technically demanding.
First, it has become more and more difficult to obtain organic solvents at a reasonable price and/or with acceptable delivery times. Therefore, African laboratories have to face up to this problem and should limit their use of organic solvents (e.g. acetonitrile). In this context, the use of a green strategy, such as CE is of utmost interest. With the latter, the analyte separation is obtained by different migration times of the species in a capillary of reduced dimension (total volume of 1 μL), filled with an aqueous buffered solution of electrolytes, under an electric field. No organic solvents are therefore needed and only little volumes of pure water are involved in the analytical process. It has to be noted that injection volumes are in the nanoliter (nL) range, which is perfectly adapted to the low availability of reference substances in emerging countries.
The other important advantage of CE versus LC is the equipment simplicity not entailing any mechanical constraints. Maintenance is simplified and requires only a periodical control of the electrodes and detection performance during routine analyses.