During the past few years, there has been an increasing exchange of information between laboratories concerned with the evaluation of reference substances. Cooperation that began on a personal and ad hoc basis is now, in some cases, being put on a more formal footing. There is a need, however, for circulating timely notifications of the work to be undertaken. In every instance, this should be done well before making any approach to a pharmaceutical manufacturer for the supply of material. In this way, it would be possible for a manufacturer to set aside a portion of a particular batch, so that sufficient of the proposed reference material would be available for all expected needs. The advantages of this procedure would be: first, that the studies carried out might be shared by collaborating laboratories; secondly, that the same reference material would be used by each issuing authority; thirdly, that if supplies of that material at one laboratory were depleted, appropriate arrangements might be made to share the remaining material from the other laboratories. Finally, there would be considerable benefit to industry since requests for the supply of reference materials would be coordinated and would be reduced in frequency.
In such a cooperative effort, it might also be possible for the manufacturer to pack the reference substance into appropriate standardized containers so that any variation due to storage and transport would be minimized.
From time to time, each laboratory will need to replace a certain number of reference substances. It would be advantageous for each laboratory to review its needs well in advance so as to permit a concerted request to be made to a manufacturer, thus achieving the benefits mentioned above.