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When you consider any pharmaceutical preparation, including those obtained from the most reliable sources, it's pretty much a given that even the most astute consumer has no idea how to confirm the validity of the product in hand. How do you know that what's stated on the product label is actually in the product you are about to introduce into your body? What assurances do you have that this product you are about to use contains the actual content and dosage strength indicated on the label?
The best and most respected means, among the the medical community at large, to confirm the validity of medications is a testing protocol known as high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Formerly referred to as high-pressure liquid chromatography, this technique is used in analytical chemistry to separate, identify, and quantify each component in a mixture. Products that meet the expectations of practitioners have had HPLC testing completed and the results confirm the label claims. Most, if not all, pharmaceutical items available worldwide achieve that standard through HPLC confirmation.
However, in today's ever-evolving global pharmaceutical industry, small “boutique” laboratories are becoming popular among the anti-aging and hormone replacement medical establishment because they can formulate the exact prescription desired by the practitioner without being bound by standard dosing limitations of giant pharmaceutical labs. While a great many of these outlets provide HPLC data for their products, the process can sometimes exceed the financial capabilities of a small independent compounding laboratory. That's not to say these products aren't first rate, they very well could, and may times do, contain active ingredients that even exceed the label claim. Unfortunately, as in any industry, there exists the unscrupulous few who will set out to take advantage of the consumer's ignorance and introduce inferior product into the market. Short of HPLC testing, how can the consumer validate their products?
There are several key factors to look for in the medicines you buy. The first major factor is price. While it's always attractive to get the best deal possible, products can actually be priced too low. So low, in fact, that it would be financially impossible to contain the label claim. The price of raw material varies greatly — several thousand percent — from compound to compound. Any product that carries a price drastically lower than the accepted market norm is probably short on active ingredient, especially those notoriously the most expensive. The price can literally be too good to be true.
The next-best means of assessing validity is to look at the overall apparent quality of the product. First and foremost, it should look professionally made and its packaging quality appear to be on par with any other commercial pharmaceutical product. For an injectable preparation, presented in a multi-use vial, the first place to look is under the crimp ring. The crimping should look like it was done by machine, not by hand with the edge of a spoon. A nice smooth crimp is an indication of automation. Automation indicates a professional operation. Another sign of automation in a liquid preparation is noted in the consistency of the fill volume. This can be checked by lining up a half dozen or so vials of a product and comparing their fill lines. They should be absolutely identical, because they were filled by machine. While the bottles are lined up, also look at the label application. The labels should all line up and be identically placed on the vial. This would also indicate the vials are being labeled by machine and not by hand.
The label should also contain several other characteristics that are required in a commercially available pharmaceutical product. The most apparent: a drug product label must have rounded corners and be made of a specific “glassine” paper with the varnish left off over the section which contains space for the lot number and expiration date. These data cannot be printed at the same time the label was printed. In order to represent an accurate lot number and date of expiration, this information can only be applied to the label at the time of labeling. Wet your finger and rub it over the lot number and expiration date. If it was printed at the time of labeling it should smudge.
The label must also contain a “statement of identity” and dosage, a declaration of the “net quantity of contents,” and several other content requirements that, at a minimum, meet European Article Number/Uniform Code Council (EAN.UCC), the Health Industry Business Communications Council (HIBCC) standards, not to mention those contained in the the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Chances are, if your product has made it this far down the list, the rest is probably also on point and you have a legit product.
Do these few characteristics make up for real HPLC testing? Of course not; however, the chances are that if a lab is paying enough attention to compliance and manufacturing automation, then it's probably not skimping on active ingredients. Products that appear to have been made in someone’s kitchen are the ones suspect. A well-made, standard compliant product should stand right up to an HPLC test and pass with flying colors.
Look out in July for the Richard Rodriguez documentary release that he has been working on extensively with YouTube Sensation JonnyBravoTV. This will absolutely bring light on the events that people are unsure of since they only see or hear what was revealed.
Source: Richard Rodriguez / RR Ventures LLC