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4 Dec 2023

What is the difference between purity and potency?

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Purity means relative freedom from extraneous matter in the finished product, whether or not harmful to the recipient or deleterious to the product. Purity includes but is not limited to relative freedom from residual moisture or other volatile substances and pyrogenic substances.

The word potency is interpreted to mean the specific ability or capacity of the product, as indicated by appropriate laboratory tests, to yield a given result.

Purity is impurities or contaminants present, whereas potency refers to the strength or concentration of the active ingredient in a substance.


  • Definition: Purity refers to the degree of impurities or contaminants present in a substance.
  • Measurement: It is usually expressed as a percentage, indicating the proportion of the desired or active component in relation to the total substance.
  • Example: In the context of chemicals, a pure substance contains only the intended chemical compound without any contaminants. In pharmaceuticals, a pure drug is free from impurities.


  • Definition: Potency refers to the strength or concentration of the active ingredient in a substance.
  • Measurement: It is often measured in terms of dosage or concentration required to produce a specific effect.
  • Example: In pharmaceuticals, a potent drug is one that produces a therapeutic effect at a low dose. In agriculture, a potent pesticide is effective in small quantities.

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