By Abigail Hisler, Strategic Marketing Director, Biologics, West Pharmaceutical Services

Published in: Pharmaceutical Online Newsletter

Published on: October 11, 2023

The required quality for glass containers for pharmaceutical applications is described in global pharmacopeia, e.g., USP Chapter Containers – Glass or Ph. Eur. 3.2.1. Glass Containers for Pharmaceutical Use. Apart from pharmacopeia, the different glass types are also described in standards, such as ISO and ASTM.

USP and Ph. Eur. have classified Type I glass as Borosilicate (BS) glass and Type III glass as soda-lime (SL) glass, each one with a certain limit for hydrolytic resistance. Typical BS glasses on the market are FIOLAX®, Corning®51-D / 51-V and NSV® 51. As it is an accepted custom to treat SL glass with ammonium sulfate on the inside to increase its chemical stability, this inner surface-treated SL glass was added in pharmacopeia and classified as Type II glass. Although there are different sub types of BS glass on the market, these are not differentiated in pharmacopeia. However, ASTM E 438 does distinguish between Type I Class A which is a BS glass with a lower thermal expansion, such as DURAN® or PYREX® glass and Type I Class B, which is a BS glass with a higher thermal expansion (alumino-borosilicate glass as per ASTM), known as FIOLAX®, Corning®51-D / 51-V or NSV® 51 glass.

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