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Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient is a substance used in a finished pharmaceutical product (FPP), intended to furnish pharmacological activity or to otherwise have direct effect in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease, or to have direct effect in restoring, correcting or modifying physiological functions in human beings.
Pharmaceutical intermediates are the drugs used as raw materials for the production of bulk drugs, or they can refer to a material produced during the synthesis of an API that must undergo further molecular change or processing before it becomes an API.
Fine chemicals are complex, single, pure chemical substances, produced in limited quantities in multipurpose plants by multistep batch chemical or biotechnological processes. They are described by exacting specifications, used for further processing within the chemical industry and sold for more than $10/kg (see the comparison of fine chemicals, commodities and specialties). The class of fine chemicals is subdivided either on the basis of the added value (building blocks, advanced intermediates or active ingredients), or the type of business transaction, namely standard or exclusive products.