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How Pharmaceuticals are Made

Most everyone has had to take a pharmaceutical medication at some point in their life. But for something so common, the amount of people who know how these medicines are made is few and far between. Read below for some insight on how these life-saving meds are made.

Powder Blending

There are many ingredients that need to be mixed together to form a complete and efficient medicine. Active pharmaceuticals, preservatives, and binders are mixed together by big, industrial blenders like a ribbon mixer or fluidizer. All ingredients are carefully and methodically measured and added in different proportions to make a safe and effectual product.


Different pharmaceutical components have different weights, densities, and particle sizes. This can alter dosage uniformity, bioavailability, solubility and homogeneity of a drug compound. Milling reduces the average particle size in a drug powder so it can be easier blended with other fine powders. In some instances, medications are put through the powder blending and milling process for a second time after the initial run-through.


Granulation is quite the opposite of milling. During this process, small particles are bound together to form larger ones. Large particles are needed for many different reasons when making a variety of medications. Granulation is used to improve tablet compaction and formation, prevent pre-formed compounds from de-mixing, and improving the flow characteristics of powdered medicines.

Tablet Pressing or Encapsulation

This is the final step in creating a complete pharmaceutical product. To form tablets, a mechanical device called a tablet press is used to compress powders into uniform shapes and sizes. The tablet presses used for pharmaceuticals are often used to compress other substances like cleaning products or cosmetics. Capsules, made out of various ingredients like gelatin or plant cellulose, are arranged in big pallets as powders are evenly distributed into them.

Finding out all that goes into making pharmaceuticals can be quite impressive. It might even make you look at your medications in a new light.

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