July 21, 2006
FDA approves sparkly pigment to color pills
Prescription drugs may never look the same again. The FDA yesterday ruled to allow drug makers to jazz up their pills’ appearance through the use of pearly pigments that will give them a metallic or shimmery sheen. The FDA’s publication of a final ruling on the approval of the use of the pigment came eight years after EMD Chemicals first petitioned the agency, the Associated Press reported. The chemical and pigment maker is part of German drug company Merck KGaA. The pigments can be used in any drugs swallowed including pills, tablets or liquids, the FDA said. The pigments are made by coating the mineral mica with titanium dioxide, iron oxide, or both. The FDA approved using the mineral combinations to color contact lenses in 2002. Similar pigments are also used in lipstick, eye shadow and nail polish as well as in inks and automotive paint. EMD Chemicals is also seeking FDA approval to use the pigments in cereals, candies, chewing gum and other foods, AP reported. In June, the FDA approved the use of titanium dioxide and mica pigments in some foods and continues to review pigment made with synthetic iron oxide.