Friday, June 18, 2010

Pharmaceutical Photography

These pictures were scanned from an old (Published in 1967) Time Life Science Library book simply titled "Drugs". It's a very interesting read and contains material tracking the history of drugs both licit and illicit throughout the ages, and some extremely cool and sometimes weird photographs. The following photos were taken from a chapter on modern pharmaceutical manufacturing, they have a sort of a simple, stark beauty to them. Click on them to get a better view.

"Shaping the Capsules

Red-tinted molten gelatin drips over stainless steel pins, forming capsules that will hold one of the 7,000 medications the U.S. pharmaceutical industry now produces. Capsule making, like the other steps of drug manufacturing, has become a highly developed art, for the sanitary containers must be mass-produced to exacting standards of size, color, and content."

"A Natural Supply of Blood

Frozen human placentas thawing in plastic bags at Lederie Laboratories, Pearl River, New York, provide blood for the production of gamma globulin, used to treat or prevent infectious hepititis. In a five-week process, gamma globulin is seperated from the blood and then purified."

"An Endless Inspection Job

Spreading capsules across lighted tables working at Parke, Dacis, and Co. in Detroit look for defects; dents, discoloration or rough edges mean rejection. After this inspection, the capsules are loaded into drums, but they are not yet ready for use. Before they are filled with drugs, samples are taken and checked again. If defective capsules are found, the entire lot is rechecked."

"A Spaghetti-Like Drug

Strands of a synthetic drug that stimulates kidney action are squeezed through small holes to complete the mixing of it's ingredients, chlorothiazide and an inert paste. After drying, the material will be formed into tablets at Merck Sharp & Dohme in West Point, Pennsylvania."

"Spotting a New Drug

To Identify drug materials, a chemist uses a process called chromatography. In each jar a paper spotted with a drug is suspended in solvent. The solvent dissolves the ingrediants and carries them down the paper, each at a different rate so that it appears as an identifiable smear."

"A Pan for Pill Polishing

Inside canvas-lined pans, antibiotic tablets are tossed and tumbled, half an hour at a time, for polishing and buffing. Each pan holds about 80,000 tablets, which are buffed with talc and given a shine by beeswax-carnauba polish."

On the left:

"A Last Minute Look

Spilling into a drum at the end of a conveyer belt, tranquilizor pills are culled by hand at the Smith Kline and French plant in Philadelphia before they reach the packaging machines."

On the right:

"Stamping For Safety

Capsules speeding through a printer at Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis receive code numbers so that if they are seperated from their labeled bottles, they can still be identifiable by the code."

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