The EDQM recently published a revised version of its certification policy document titled "Content of the dossier for chemical purity and microbiological quality". The revision takes into account the new regulatory developments in Europe that are reflected in many revised and, to some extent, new guidelines of the EMA, ICH as well as in some revised general chapters and monographs of the European Pharmacopoeia (see the summary of these guidance documents under "References" at the end of the policy document).
The aim of the policy document is to provide CEP applicants with a guideline for preparing the authorisation dossier and for compiling all the documents required for this. The dossier is to be divided into 3 modules:
Module 1: The authorisation history of the products is to be described which contain the active ingredient for which a CEP application is submitted. The following declarations are also to be submitted:
- a declaration of GMP conformity from all manufacturers involved in the manufacture of intermediate products and the final active ingredient,
- a declaration from these manufacturers that they are willing to be inspected before and after being granted a certificate of suitability,
- a commitment to provide the EDQM, upon request, with samples of the final active ingredient and/or its impurities,
- a declaration to acknowledge the provisions of the Certification procedure and to agree to the exchange of assessment reports between the national competent authorities of the European Member States as well as the EMA experts.
Module 2: Part of this module (analogous to the CTD structure) is the Quality Overall Summary (QOS). The EDQM published a ready-to-use Word template for this. The template can be accessed on the EDQM website "Submit a new application" which contains the most important facts regarding the submission of a new application for a CEP together with links for the relevant documents. With the description of the active ingredient in the QOS, evidence must be provided that the pharmacopoeia monograph is suitable to control the quality of the active ingredient, particularly with regard to the impurity profile of the substance. Plausible justification is important for the cases where testing for possible impurities is omitted.
Module 3: Also this Module reflects the CTD structure, i.e. the content of subchapter 3.2.S.1 to 3.2.S.7 with further subdivisions corresponds to the content of a standard authorisation application for a medicinal product. Here are some examples of important points that must be considered in light of the regulatory developments:
- A CEP that covers different grades of active ingredient (different physical properties, such as particle size or certain polymorphic forms) cannot be issued if these grades also have different limits for impurities and if different analytical methods of determination are required for their control. A CEP for different grades of freedom from pyrogens or bacterial endotoxins is only possible when the relevant monograph foresees this. Otherwise, separate applications must be submitted for grades of the active ingredient that do and do not contain pyrogens or endotoxins ("General properties"; 3.2.S.1.3).
- Different production sites and manufacturing processes may only be described in one and the same application if it can be proven in a plausible manner that the quality (specifications and impurity profiles) of the relevant intermediate products and the final active ingredient is not significantly changed. Reprocessing steps are to be clearly described; reworking is not normally accepted ("Description of the manufacturing process and process controls"; 3.2.S.2.2).
- The selection of the starting material is to be justified as per the regulations of ICH Q11 and the EMA Reflection Pager on Starting Materials (EMA/448443/2014). Single step synthesis is generally not accepted unless the starting material itself has a CEP (see EDQM Guideline "Use of a CEP to describe a starting material in an application for another CEP"). Testing for impurities including solvents, catalysts and reactants and absence of a possible carryover into the final product is to be described ("Control of materials"; 3.2.S.2.3).
- Validation data for manufacturing sterile substances is to be submitted; the complete validation data (protocols and reports) is to be presented for the sterilisation process. Part 2 of the EU GMP guidelines applies to the manufacture of the active ingredient until immediately before the sterilisation stage; sterilisation and aseptic processing should be carried out according to Annex 1 of the guideline ("Process validation and/or evaluation" 3.2.S.2.5).
- Testing for all kinds of impurities (reagents, catalysts, solvents, by-products etc.) and their potential sources are to be described, particularly if the monograph does not contain suitable test methods. Analytical data and a minimum of significant validation data (incl. LOD/LOQ values) are to be presented ("Impurities"; 3.2.S.3.2).
Overall the provisions of the new certification policy document are rather extensive. As mentioned at the start, the pharmacopoeia authority has reacted to the increased requirements in the newly published and revised ICH and EU guidelines. The policy document is now applicable with no transition period, which means CEP applicants who submitted their application without knowing about this document may receive from the EDQM a particularly long list of deficiencies along with the request to submit the relevant information required.