Sunday, 24 May 2015

Post # 3 Quantities in Chemical Reactions

Are the good kind of drugs bad?

Every year over four billion prescriptions are filled out in the U.S. alone, and of the billions of prescriptions, the drugs taken to help someone, in fact account for approximately 30% of all hospital visits.  To fill a prescription a doctor or pharmacist must calculate the proper dosage and ensure it is completely accurate or risk harming a patient.  However, possible error doesn't only occur there; many mistakes are made during the production of prescription drugs.
The article bellow specified several points where errors can and will occur in an unnamed factory.  These areas include different water sources for the same product, that confuse the staff and lead to errors and waste.  If different water sources are used the product will be different as the temperature, purity, and p.h. levels may differ from each other and each reaction must be both accurate and precise.  For example: Tylenol, or acetaminophen, its formula is C8H9NO2 and has a molar mass of 151.56.  Tylenol normally has a molarity of 0.014 mols/L but it has a molarity of 0.05 mols/L in boiling water.  If different temperatures of water were used in production, the same drug would be much more concentrated in some cases.  Taking the risks to mind it's quite important to properly measure each ingredient's physical properties to ensure they are identical.  From that it's clear to see the relevance of chemical and molar ratios. 

Article Review

The article was written to inform the public of the abhorrent mistake-proofing that occurs at major pharmaceutical facilities.  The author took notice of over 30 potential areas for mistake to happen and also noted their defect rates which ranged from 1000 to 5000 ppm (parts per million) as apposed to car factories which maintain a 30 ppm defect rate.  After explaining the possible hazards the author went on to recommend better methods to achieve better quality products with lower defect rates.


I personally find it startling that large corporations entrusted with our health maintain such a high defect rate.  The actions methods used in these facilities are, in my opinion, not satisfactory.  It's expected for the manufacturers to know the molar ratios and amounts, and not be guessing like some of the situations in the article.

Reader Reflection

Do you think 1000 - 5000 ppm is an acceptable defect rate?  If not what would be an appropriate rate, taking into account that 0 ppm is an impossible standard?         

1 comment:

  1. Although I don’t think that a pharmaceutical manufacturer and a car manufacturer are the best choices for comparison, I do think that the pharmaceutical manufacturer’s defect rate of 1000-5000 ppm is unacceptable. At first I was skeptical, but after reading the article I was appalled at the lack of quality control. First of all, whoever designed half the things in this factory should have been fired; the senseless layout of the machinery and the unlabeled equipment are such easy things to avoid. Secondly, whoever is in charge of the factory now should be fired; even if they don’t have the means to invest in the kind of technology that the author of the article has suggested, they could still use colour and signage to make it clear to the workers what does what and such. You can buy timers at the dollar store that can clip on to whatever you happen to be wearing. By investing $20, this company’s defect rate could be drastically reduced; to put a value on the level to which it could be reduced is difficult but I would guess that it could be cut in half at the very least.