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Primary and Secondary Standards

Primary and Secondary Standards

24 Apr 2022

In this post we explain a concept that we are frequently asked about and that is the difference between primary and secondary standards that we offer on our website, applied to the pharmaceutical sector in particular.

Primary Standards


In analytical chemistry, primary standard solutions are characterized by high purity, stability, and precision. They have various functions, but the most representative is for reactive use and for standardizing/assessing secondary standard solutions. For example, potassium hydrogen phthalate and sodium chloride are the most common ones.

Secondary standards


If we work with secondary standard solutions we do not have as much precision as in the primary ones because the concentration and chemical properties are not constant over time, their values are not known with such accuracy and they are more reactive to the different components of the air. In order to determine the concentration of a secondary standard solution, we standardize it with a primary standard.

Pharmaceutical sector


In the pharmaceutical sector, the nomenclature changes slightly and as a highly regulated sector, the use of so-called primary standards is required (highly pure and highly characterized organic compounds that serve as a reference). These primary standards are certified by the different pharmacopoeias for the synthesis of APIs and other compounds that qualify them for a given market.
As you may know, a large part of the standards used in the pharmaceutical industry (the so-called 'working standards'), are secondary standard solutions qualified in relation to the primary standards and following the guidelines of the different pharmacopoeias. In this group, we find a wide variety of products such as standard solutions (HCl, H2SO4) or API impurity standards.


What does CYMIT Chemistry offer?

On our website, you can find a wide variety of USP, EP, BP and JP pharmaceutical primary standards. In addition, we also offer thousands of certified general primary standards (by the different pharmacopoeias) for instrumentation, equipment calibration and any standardized chemical reaction from very competitive brands such as Reagecon.
Beyond pharmacopeial standards, our suppliers of secondary standards for the pharmaceutical sector also include a wide range of API impurities and organic and inorganic reference standards for all types of analysis techniques, in accordance with the different pharmacopoeias or not, depending on the desired type.

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