Vegan medicine: Roquette develops plant-based gel capsules

Author: Helen Greaves

Read Time:   |  30th November 2021

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A vegan alternative to gelatine capsules has been developed, but will we see more vegan-friendly medicine emerge?


Roquette, a global leader in plant-based ingredients, pioneer of plant proteins, and a world-leading provider of pharmaceutical materials, has developed a vegan-friendly gel capsule for medicines.

Roquette uses pea starch, carrageenan, sorbitol, and a gelling agent to create market-first LYCAGEL™.

LYCAGEL™ is a premix solution that meets both EU and US standards for pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products.

It will allow manufacturers to easily make vegan-friendly capsules with the same strength, seal, drying time and disintegration time as conventional gelatine-based capsules.

The capsules also have the advantage of a higher processing temperature suitability than gelatine.

“The launch of LYCAGEL™ marks a new era for softgel formulations and manufacturing. Manufacturers no longer need to compromise on performance when launching a vegetable softgel solution,” said Paul Smaltz, Head of Roquette’s Global Pharmaceutical business unit.

“Designed to be easily adaptable to existing gelatin processes, LYCAGEL™ can support businesses in bringing vegetarian alternatives to market quickly, without significant changes to existing operations.”

Are medicines vegan?

There are some that argue that any life-saving or life-affirming medicines can have their place in a vegan lifestyle.

Indeed, the Vegan Society’s definition of veganism specifies the exclusion of animal products “as far as is possible and practicable”.

This implies that, for example, medicines that improve quality of life should not be avoided.

Currently, a large number of medicines are unfortunately tested on animals or contain animal ingredients.

With the development of pioneering news products like LYCAGEL™ and ongoing campaigns against animal testing, we can hope to see this change to make it easier to avoid animal products in medicines in future.

However, we can’t fight this fight if all the people on our side are unwell.

*It is incredibly important to note that The Vegan Society DOES NOT recommend you avoid medication prescribed to you by your doctor, and instead recommends that you ask your GP or pharmacist to provide you with, where possible, medications that don’t contain substances such as gelatine or lactose. You can take a look at the ingredients in medications prescribed in the UK at

Read more about taking medicines on a vegan diet and the options available to us.

Written by

Helen Greaves

Helen has been vegan since 2018 and has a background in vegan food marketing and social media. She's mother to a mischief of rats, and loves to spend her spare time making vegan cakes and bakes.

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