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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 35  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1-3  

Inclusion of radiopharmaceuticals in the Indian pharmacopeia: A step forward

Department of Pharmacology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India

Date of Submission22-Jul-2019
Date of Acceptance21-Aug-2019
Date of Web Publication31-Dec-2019

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Bikash Ranjan Meher
Department of Pharmacology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar, Odisha
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijnm.IJNM_133_19

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Pharmacopeia is the national collection of quality standards of pharmaceutical products. It is an important instrument for drug safety. The inclusion of radiopharmaceuticals (RPs) in the Indian Pharmacopeia is a step-in right direction as the adaptation of provision of pharmacopeia will reduce the unwanted adverse effects and ensure the effectiveness of RPs.

Keywords: Drug safety, pharmacopeia, radiopharmaceuticals

How to cite this article:
Meher BR. Inclusion of radiopharmaceuticals in the Indian pharmacopeia: A step forward. Indian J Nucl Med 2020;35:1-3

How to cite this URL:
Meher BR. Inclusion of radiopharmaceuticals in the Indian pharmacopeia: A step forward. Indian J Nucl Med [serial online] 2020 [cited 2023 Mar 26];35:1-3. Available from:

   Introduction Top

The term “pharmacopeia” is derived from the ancient Greek word pharmakopiia, which means “to make drug.” Pharmacopeia is an official compilation of drug quality standards intended to serve as source material for reference or adaptation for individuals and organizations involved in pharmaceutical research, development, manufacture, quality control, and analysis.[1] Monograph of a pharmacopeia contains detail description of a specific pharmaceutical, regarding nomenclature, classification, physical characteristics, dosage, purity, limits for impurities, identification, assay, and conditions for storage.[2] The objective of publishing pharmacopeia is to ensure quality, safety, and efficacy of drugs by preventing the marketing of inconsistent drugs.[3] Many countries across the world have their own national pharmacopeias such as US Pharmacopeia for the United States of America and British Pharmacopeia for Britain.[4] The World Health Organization also regularly publishes Pharmacopeia, International Pharmacopeia for the use of its member states.[4] India has its own pharmacopeia, which is known as Indian Pharmacopeia (IP). It is published periodically by the IP Commission on behalf of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, in compliance with the requirements of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Rules 1945.[5]

The role of nuclear medicine in the medical sciences is increasing with each passing day. The advent of Positron emission tomography–computed tomography(PET-CT) PT-computed tomography and positron emission tomography-magnetic resonance has increased its role in many folds. Radiopharmaceuticals (RPs) are an integral component of nuclear medicine practice and are employed for the diagnosis and treatment of many malignant and nonmalignant diseases.[6],[7] Like its western counterpart, nuclear medicine in India has also expanded extensively in recent years. Many private and public establishments including teaching institute have now well-equipped nuclear medicine facility engaged in the diagnosis and treatment of various diseases.[8]

RPs are distinct and different from conventional pharmaceutical products as it contains both pharmaceutical and radionucleotide components.[9] Unlike conventional pharmaceutical products, the licensing for the production, use, and storage of RPs needs to be in agreement with the rules and regulation set up by the regulatory authority governing pharmaceutical preparations as well as the regulatory authority governing radioactive materials. It may also need additional regulation for transportation or dispensing.[10] Therapeutic RPs do not enjoy any special privilege and are treated in the same way as any other conventional drug products during the clinical trial. However, the diagnostic RP is treated differently due to its distinctive characteristics such as single use or infrequent use and microdosing. Regulatory agencies across the world have realized the importance of a systematic approach for the preclinical development of RPs which will reduce the time and resources spent on microdose RP diagnostic drug development while protecting safety of patients. In 2018, the US Food and Drug Administration has published a new guidance, Microdose RP Diagnostic Drugs: Nonclinical study recommendations, which recommends reduction or elimination of any additional toxicology and nonclinical studies for Phase 1–3 studies for diagnostic RPs.[11],[12] The new regulations on clinical trial brought out by the European Parliament and the Council of European Union also exempted good manufacturing practice for diagnostic RPs.[11],[13]

In India, RPs use is regulated under the provision of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Rules 1945 though some exemption is granted from the provisions of rules of its Chapter IV.[7] Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai, is responsible for the regulation and safety monitoring of RPs used in India, whereas the Board of Radiation and Isotopic Studies produced RPs in India.[14],[15]

In view of the increasing role of RPs in healthcare delivery, it has become imperative to maintain its quality and ensure its safety and effectiveness. However, sometimes, alteration in preparation procedure has unfavorable consequences such as unwanted adverse effects and decrease in effectiveness and this menace can be decreased by complying with provisions of the pharmacopeia. The IP Commission recognized this and initiated the effort to include RPs in IP for the first time in 2014 in the Seventh Edition of IP. The number has increased to 37 in 2019.[16]

   Radiopharmaceuticals in Indian Pharmacopeia -2014 Top

In 2014, 19 drug monographs and one general chapter were devoted to RPs. The RPs used for diagnosis as well as therapy were included in the pharmacopeia.[17]

Nineteen RPs found place in IP-2014 were fluorodeoxyglucose (18 F) injection, technetium (99m Tc) medronate complex injection, and technetium (99m Tc) MIBI technetium methoxyisobutyl isonitrile injection, (131 I) meta-iodobenzyl guanidine injection, (131 I) meta-iodobenzyl guanidine injection, technetium (99m Tc) EC injection, technetium (99m Tc) ethyl cysteinate dimer injection, technetium (99m Tc) glucoheptonate injection, technetium (99m Tc) mebrofenin injection, samarium (153 Sm) ethylene diamine tetramethylene phosphonate injection, sodium fluoride (18 F) injection, sodium iodide (131 I) capsules, sodium iodide (131 I) capsules, sodium iodide (131 I) solution, sodium pertechnetate (99m Tc) injection [fission], sodium pertechnetate (99m Tc) injection (nonfission), sodium phosphate (32 P) injection, technetium (99m Tc) dimercaptosuccinic acid injection, and technetium (99m Tc) DTPA technetium diethylene-triamine-pentaacetate injection.[17]

Subsequently, ten more RPs were added in the addendum 2015. Those RPs were gallium citrate (67 Ga) injection, strontium (89 Sr) chloride injection, technetium (99m Tc) colloidal rhenium sulfide injection, technetium (99m Tc) exametazime injection, technetium (99m Tc) HYNIC-TOC injection, technetium (99m Tc) macrosalb injection, technetium (99m Tc) mertiatide injection, technetium (99m Tc) tetrofosmin complex injection, technetium (99m Tc) trodat injection, and urea (14 C) capsules.[18]

In the addendum 2016, three more RPs included were samarium phosphate (32 P) colloid injection, technetium (99m Tc) labeled human serum albumin nanocolloid injection, and thallous (201 Tl) chloride injection.[19]

   Radiopharmaceuticals in Indian Pharmacopeia -2018 Top

In 2018, the IP Commission brought out the Eighth Edition of IP. Three new RP monographs were included in IP-2108 and those were gallium (68 Ga) chloride and sodium iodide (123 I) solution and sodium iodide (123 I) injection.[20] Subsequent to that two more RPs, gallium (68 Ga) edotreotide injection and sodium chromate (51 Cr) injection were added in the addendum 2019.[21]

   Conclusion Top

RPs are important for the diagnosis and management of many medical conditions. The quality of RP products is very vital as it may have a direct bearing on the safety of the patient and on the outcome of diagnosis and therapy. The inclusion of RPs in IP will help in improving the quality which in turn will promote the safety in public health as it can be used as reference sources for the quality specification of RPs.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

International Pharmacopeia. 8th ed; 2018. Available from: [Last accessed on 2019 Jun 15].  Back to cited text no. 1
Good Pharmacopoeial Practices. Available from:  Back to cited text no. 2
Huang YY. An Overview of PET Radiopharmaceuticals in Clinical Use: Regulatory, Quality and Pharmacopeia Monographs of the United States and Europe, IntechOpen. Available from: first/an-overview-of-pet-radiopharmaceuticals-in-clinical-use- regulatory-quality-and-pharmacopeia-monograp. [Last accessed on 2019 Jun 15].  Back to cited text no. 3
Indian Pharmacopeia. Available from: [Last accessed on 2019 Jun 15].  Back to cited text no. 5
Ramamoorthy N. Impact of nuclear medicine and radiopharmaceuticals on health-care delivery: Advances, lessons, and need for an objective value-matrix. Indian J Nucl Med 2018;33:273-6.  Back to cited text no. 6
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Meher BR, Agrawal K, Padhy BM. The global perspective of pharmacovigilance in nuclear medicine practice. Indian J Nucl Med 2018;33:269-72.  Back to cited text no. 7
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Sharma AR. Nuclear medicine in India: A historical journey. Indian J Nucl Med 2018;33 Suppl 1:S5-10.  Back to cited text no. 8
Yeong CH, Cheng MH, Ng KH. Therapeutic radionuclides in nuclear medicine: Current and future prospects. J Zhejiang Univ Sci B 2014;15:845-63.  Back to cited text no. 9
The British Pharmacopoeia; 2019. Available from: [Last accessed on 2019 Jun 15].  Back to cited text no. 10
Schwarz SW, Decristoforo C, Goodbody AE, Singhal N, Saliba S, Ruddock P, et al. Harmonization of United States, European Union and Canadian first-in-human regulatory requirements for radiopharmaceuticals-is this possible? J Nucl Med 2018. pii: jnumed. 118.209460.  Back to cited text no. 11
Micro dose Radiopharmaceutical Diagnostic Drugs: Nonclinical Study Recommendations Guidance for Industry. Available from: regulatory-information/search-fda-guidance-documents/microdose-radiopharmaceutical-diagnostic-drugs-nonclinical- study-recommendations. [Last accessed on 2019 Aug 21].  Back to cited text no. 12
Regulation (EU) No 536/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 on Clinical Trials on Medicinal Products for Human Use, and Repealing Directive 2001/20/EC. Available from: [Last accessed on 2019 Aug 21].  Back to cited text no. 13
Products of BRIT. Available from: [Last accessed on 2019 Jul 05].  Back to cited text no. 14
Sharma S, Jain S, Baldi A, Singh RK, Sharma RK. Intricacies in the approval of radiopharmaceuticals-regulatory perspectives and the way forward. Curr Sci 2019;116:47-55.  Back to cited text no. 15
Kumar R, Kalaiselvan V, Kumar R, Verma R, Singh GN. Pharmacovigilance in radiopharmaceuticals. Indian J Nucl Med 2016;31:89-92.  Back to cited text no. 16
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Features of IP-Addendum-2015 to IP-2014. Available from: [Last accessed on 2019 Jun 21].  Back to cited text no. 18
Release of Indian Pharmacopoeia (IP); 2018. Available from: pharmacopoeia-2018-and-its-addenda/8-category-en/557- release-of-indian-pharmacopoeia-ip-2018.html. [Last accessed on 2019 Jun 19].  Back to cited text no. 20
Salient Features of Addendum 2019 to IP 2018. Available from: [Last accessed on 2019 Jun 29].  Back to cited text no. 21

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