The authors have done a fantastic job in producing this latest edition of Pharmaceutical Substances as a single volume of over 1700 pages. As a process research and development chemist, I appreciate the detailed reaction schemes which inform me how every drug on the market can be made and the detailed references to, not only the published literature, but to patents. I am also pleased to see that the current volume has many references to Organic Process Research and Development Journal.
This volume will appeal not only to R&D chemists, but to many scientists in widely differing functions, particularly to those in the generics industry and to companies in the fine chemicals industry looking to supply intermediates for key drugs. It will also be extremely useful to anyone, whether in the academic community or in industry, who needs a source of information on details of the 1300 drugs currently on the market.
The convenient one-volume format has been achieved by not describing drugs which are no longer on the market (which are covered in the electronic version). All entries in this book have been thoroughly updated and the opportunity has been taken to add most of the drugs launched since the last printed edition, published in two volumes in 2001. As a result readers have a more concise encyclopaedia, enhanced by excellent indexing enabling information to be easily retrieved.
Updating such a substantial reference work is a mammoth task and all who have been involved in this venture deserve to be congratulated on their tremendous achievement.
Science of Synthesis and Houben-Weyl are extremely important and useful review sources for synthetic chemists. Unlike most databases, they provide an overview of the synthetic literature and evaluate specific reactions and methods used for a variety of purposes. Any strong organic synthesis collection would be enhanced by this resource. By reading the review articles contained, researchers can save a great deal of time that would otherwise have been spent performing searches and wading through a vast quantity of articles to find the best synthetic method for a particular transformation. Although the quirks of the interface can be irritating at times, the functionality is generally good, and the quality of the information contained makes up for any difficulties in obtaining it. If funds can be spared in these times of troubled budgets, Science of Synthesis is an excellent investment.
The fourth edition of Pharmaceutical Substances was printed in 2001, and in the intervening time the authors note there have been significant changes in the pharmaceutical sector with once well-known vendors having disappeared or changed names. In addition, a vast number of brand nameshave disappeared or changed, drugs have been withdrawn or sold to another vendor, and many drugs have become generic after their patents expired. The authors also make the point that there is an electronic version (which I have previously reviewed), and although that version is constantly updated (for instance, version 3.0, updated in June 2007, was the seventh update since its launch in November 2003), many users approached the authors and publishers to request an updated printed version. In response, this new edition is now available with 165 new monograph entries, revisions to existing entries, and countless changes to vendor and trade names. This edition contains about 1300 active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) with a very useful alphabetical list of monographs in the opening section wherein those included in the printed version are highlighted in bold-face print and additional entries in the electronic version are included in light-face print. This is a very helpful means to show the contents and illustrate the two sources of information available to users.
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