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21 February 2008

EU Publishes Changes to Chapter 1 EC GMP Guide and Annex 20

On Friday, 15 February 2008, the European Commission published a modified version of Chapter 1 "Quality Management" of the EC GMP Guide (Part 1) together with Annex 20.

With this publication, the European Commission implants ICH Q9 "Quality Risk Management" into European legislation. According to the statutes of ICH, each of the 3 regions (USA, Europe, and Japan) has to implant the ICH guidelines into national legislation (Step 5). The question of how this is done lies within the responsibility of the respective regions/countries. In Europe, it has been decided that ICH Q9 shall be published as Annex 20. For this purpose, the wording of Q9 has been adopted identically. Only the introduction was added as a new element.

At the same time, the European Commission has amended Chapter 1 with a passage on "Quality Risk Management". This passage points out that the principles of Quality Risk Management can now be found in Annex 20. Interestingly, the EU has changed and complemented the text compared to the draft published in 2007. One noticeable sentence that has been added says that the principles of Quality Risk Management can be applied both proactively and retrospectively.

Another innovation is the wording on Annex 20, claiming that the latter does not define any new requirements. Nevertheless, it hardly seems possible in practice not to implement the application of the "recommendation". This effect is reinforced by the fact that the changes to Chapter 1 are not to be understood as recommendations. In some European countries, like Germany for example, the implementation of the contents of the EC GMP Guide is mandatory. In the following we have compiled the changes to Chapter 1.

Quality Risk Management
1.5 Quality risk management is a systematic process for the assessment, control, communication and review of risks to the quality of the medicinal product. It can be applied both proactively and retrospectively.
1.6 The quality risk management system should ensure that

  • the evaluation of the risk to quality is based on scientific knowledge, experience with the process and ultimately links to the protection of the patient
  • the level of effort, formality and documentation of the quality risk management process is commensurate with the level of risk

Examples of the processes and applications of quality risk management can be found inter alia in Annex 20.

The principals as well as practical examples of Quality Risk Management according to ICH Q9/ Annex 20 are subject of the ECA event:

  • ICH Q9 Training Course
    12-13 March 2008 in Munich
    This Education Course can be booked with the ICH Q10 Training Course to save EUR 600. Click here for more.

Oliver Schmidt
On behalf of the European Compliance Academy


Annex 20 to the EC GMP Guide:

Chapter 1 of the EC GMP Guide Part 1:

Modified Introduction to the introduction of the EC GMP Guide:


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