What are Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs)?

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The Union Health Minister recently said that India has started manufacturing 38 active pharmaceutical ingredients, or APIs, in the last one and a half years.

About Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs):


  • APIs are the active components in a pharmaceutical drug that produces the required effect on the body to treat a condition.
  • APIs are produced by processing chemical compounds.
  • In a biologic drug, the active ingredient is known as a bulk process intermediate (BPI).
  • In the context of drug development and manufacturing, APIs are the key active components that interact with specific receptors or target molecules in the body to bring about the desired physiological or therapeutic response.
  • All drugs are made up of two core components: (1) Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API), which is the central ingredient, and (2) excipients. 
  • Excipients:
    • They are substances other than the drug that helps deliver the medication to your system.
    • Excipients are chemically inactive substances, such as lactose or mineral oil. 
    • Some of these materials are used to help the medication remain stable and to control absorption when you take the drug. 
  • Example: For instance, if you have a headache, acetaminophen is the API, while the liquid in the gel-capsule or the bulk of a pill is the excipient.


Q1) What is Lactose?

Lactose is a type of sugar found in milk and dairy products. It is a disaccharide, meaning it is composed of two sugar molecules, glucose and galactose, linked together. Lactose is the primary carbohydrate present in mammalian milk, including human milk.

Source: India has started manufacturing 38 APIs in past 1.5 years: Mansukh Mandaviya