Archive for the 'Manufacturing' Category

Drug Shortages Continue to Plague Healthcare System

Despite notable successes in preventing and mitigating short supplies of important medicines, the drug shortage crisis still disrupts medical treatment and gives drug manufacturers a bad name. FDA is doing

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PDA Panel Proposes Limited Set of Metrics to Measure Quality Trends

If FDA is going to establish standards for assessing the quality of manufacturing sites and products, it should seek data on a few well-defined measures that reflect longer-term results and trends, rather than “snapshots of current numbers.” And such metrics should include more leading—vs. lagging—indicators to reflect a firm’s commitment to continuous improvement in production processes. Those recommendations come from a PDA “points to consider” paper, written to help FDA set standards to measure product quality and manufacturing capabilities.

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Provider Demand to Drive Compounder Registration with FDA

FDA is moving fast to implement the drug compounding provisions of the new Drug Quality and Security Act (DQSA), issuing new guidance to spur registration by outsourcing facilities just days after President Obama signed the new bill into law. Because FDA cannot compel compounders to opt for agency regulation, implementation will rely largely on market pressures to encourage healthcare providers to purchase compounded products only from registered facilities, explained FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg at a press briefing Dec. 2, 2013.

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Senate Finalizes Drug Compounding, Tracking Legislation

Congress gave final approval this week to new legislation to strengthen FDA authority to oversee large pharmacy compounders of sterile injectables and to require more comprehensive tracking of prescription drugs moving through the global supply chain. The House passed the the Drug Quality and Security Act in late September, but Senate action was delayed, first by the federal government shut-down in October and then by individual efforts to force a vote related to Obamacare.

But continued public outrage over deaths from contaminated injectables produced by large compounding pharmacies, along with rising concerns about counterfeit and unauthorized drugs entering the US market, managed to overcome the partisan stalemate on Capitol Hill to win strong approval for the measure. No one gets all they wanted from the legislation, but it provides more clarity and predictability to drug oversight programs and moves forward initiatives designed to enhance the safety and quality of medicines in the United States.

Alan Coukell, senior director of drugs and medical devices at The Pew Charitable Trusts, praised the bill as “meaningful” and said that efforts to block counterfeit and contaminated drugs will “help protect lives and alleviate these costs by ensuring that prescription drugs are safe, effective and of the highest quality.”  President Obama is expected to sign the bill fairly quickly

Voluntary system
As previously noted here, the first section of the bill clarifies FDA’s authority over drug compounding, which resolves questions raised by diverse federal court rulings on the issue. Pharmaceutical manufacturers gained legislative language specifying that compounders cannot produce drugs that are “essentially a copy of a marketed drug.” But the bill is not as strong as FDA and patient advocates had hoped, as it fails to set specific criteria to differentiate large commercial operations from local compounding pharmacies. The legislation instead relies on a voluntary registration system for large-scale compounders, which will have an impact only if large purchasers of compounded drugs insist that their suppliers meet FDA standards.

Pre-empting states
The main gain for manufacturers from the drug supply chain security section of the act is to pre-empt state pedigree laws, including the comprehensive California statute slated to go into effect in 2015. The new bill generally follows the Senate’s 10-year time-line for establishing an electronic, interoperable, unit-level drug tracking system. All drug packages will have to carry serial numbers in four years, and FDA will establish verification and traceability standards and provisions for data exchange.

The tracking system will include manufacturers, wholesaler/distributors and pharmacies, with some exceptions for small firms. In addition, third-party logistics providers such as Federal Express and UPS get a pass on keeping records and participating in investigations, which could create serious gaps in the tracking process.

Some critics blasted the bill for giving industry so much time to establish unit-level tracking and for imposing fairly weak oversight of compounders. But FDA, manufacturers, and policy makers seem pleased to gain enactment of any legislation at all. The long-term impact remains to be seen.

Liability Looms for Generic-Drug Safety Labeling Changes

FDA is proposing to revise its rules to permit generic-drug manufacturers to initiate safety-labeling changes instead of waiting until the brand company takes action. The aim of the new policy is to inform consumers more quickly of emerging safety concerns, but it also could create confusion by allowing prescribing information to differ among generic and brand products.

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Regulatory and QA/QC Focus: Elemental Impurity Analysis

Patricia Van Arnum PharmTech editorAs the pharmaceutical industry prepares for changes to compendial and regulatory standards for elemental impurity analysis, QA/QC and laboratory scientists are tasked with adapting their operations to include data management, analysis, and reporting based on inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry (ICP–MS). Understanding the necessary technical controls to implement and manage analytical operations is crucial to ensure regulatory compliance. Pharmaceutical Technology will present a live educational webcast, “Achieving Regulatory Compliance When Moving to ICP-MS for Elemental Impurity Analysis,” on Wednesday, November 6, 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM EST to provide insight from leading industry experts on ICH, USP, and EMA guidelines for elemental impurity analysis and best practices and strategies to optimize the analytical workflow, data management, and data reporting when using ICP-MS. Read more »

Preparing for Regulatory Inspections

Patricia Van Arnum PharmTech editorRegulatory compliance is of paramount importance to pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical companies, which must be continually prepared for inspections by FDA, EMA, and other health authorities to meet requirements for good clinical practices (GCP) and good manufacturing practices (GMP). Pharmaceutical Technology will present an educational webcast on Thursday Nov. 7th from 1:00 to 2:00 PM EST, “Ensuring Preparedness for Regulatory Inspections,” which will provide insight on inspection trends and practical advice on how to best prepare for GCP/GMP inspections, examine the key information/documentation sought by regulators, and ways to achieve operational efficiency for providing access to that information. Read more »

Industry Needs to Drive the Dialogue Regarding FDA’s Quality Metrics Initiative

Guest blog written by Walter Morris, Director of Publishing, Parenteral Drug Association, on behalf of the PDA Quality Metrics Task Force

The US FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) reached out earlier this year to industry and the public for input into plans to implement parts of the 2012 Food Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA).1 Quality manufacturing leaders in the industry must now seize this opportunity to help bring about real changes to a system of regulatory inspection and enforcement that, in spite of reasonable attempts at reform over the last decade, is struggling with new challenges. Continued high-cost enforcement actions, plant closures, drug shortages and, regrettably, real harm to patients have pushed everyone involved with this industry to recognize, finally, that a new regulatory and quality paradigm is needed.

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Pharma Moves Towards Continuous Manufacturing and Low-Cost Products

VLUU L110  / Samsung L110It’s Day 2 at CPhI and the remaining findings of the annual expert industry report were released today during the show. As continuous processing continues to revolutionize manufacturing, Emil Ciurczak, principal at Doramax Consulting, believes that large batch production will one day be a thing of the past.

“We’ve had improved measurement systems, including light-induced fluorescent spectroscopy (LIFS), near infrared (NIR) and Raman, for years, and have used them to guarantee mixing,” noted Ciurczak, “but now there are automated systems that operate continuously that will allow us to speed up pre-pilot-scale work in design of experiments (DOE), technology transfer and the determination of the design space.” He pointed out that these systems eliminate some of the problems observed with conventional methods when moving from laboratory scale to small manufacturing scale. DOE can now be done in a matter of days with the newer systems instead of weeks or months. Such improved tools lower the costs of manufacturing and enable branded players to get more value out of their products while still under patent. According to Ciurczak, there will be less complains in the future about DOE and quality by design (QbD) costing too much or tying up equipment. Read more »

Meeting Technical and Regulatory Requirements for Organic Impurity Control and Analysis

Patricia Van Arnum PharmTech editorProduct quality is of paramount importance to pharmaceutical manufacturers, and implementing a strategy for impurity control is crucial. Organic impurities cover a wide spectrum of compounds that have varying structures, behaviors, and characteristics. Organic impurities can result from the manufacturing process, storage conditions, or degradation resulting from light, heat, and other external factors. Deciding what technology or analytical methods to use to detect and measure organic impurities is a challenge. Pharmaceutical Technology will hold a live educational webcast, “Meeting Regulatory and Technical Requirements for Organic Impurity Analysis, on Tuesday Sept. 24 at 11:00 AM EDT to 12:00 PM EDT to provide insight on the regulatory, compendial, and ICH requirements for organic impurity control and analysis as well as best practices in analytical method development, method selection, and method validation for detecting and quantifying organic impurities in drug substances and drug products.

The panelists for the webcast will be: Timothy Watson, PhD, and research fellow in the GCMC Advisory Office at Pfizer and a member of the PhRMA Expert Working Group on the ICH Q11 regulatory guidance document for drug substances; Mark Argentine, PhD, senior research advisor, analytical sciences R&D with Eli Lilly; and Hildegard Bruemmer, PhD, operational laboratory manager, SGS Life Science Services, Berlin. The panelists will provide insight on the regulatory and compendial requirements for organic impurity control and analysis in drug substances and drug products. They will also share insight on selecting the appropriate analytical methods for the detection, analysis, and quantification of organic impurities and offer related case studies on how best to ensure product quality.

Audience members may ask questions of the panelists during the live webcast. Information on how to register for the webcast, “Meeting Regulatory and Technical Requirements for Organic Impurity Analysis” for Tuesday Sept. 24 at 11:00 AM EDT to 12:00 PM EDT and for on-demand viewing is available here.

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