EMEA publishes Questions and Answers on the Quality of IMPs

The European Medicines Agency (EMEA) has published new Q&As on the Guideline on the Requirements to the Chemical and Pharmaceutical Quality Documentation Concerning Investigational Medicinal Products in Clinical Trials (CHMP/QWP/185401/2004). Final reference is given for each question.

1. Question: Setting specifications for impurities
On which basis should specifications for related impurities be set?

Safety considerations should be taken into account. The limits should be supported by the impurity profiles of batches of active substance used in non-clinical and clinical studies. Results between batches should be consistent (or the clinical batches should show better purity results than non-clinical and previous clinical batches).
Compliance with ICH requirements is not required, if proper justification is provided.

2. Question: Substantial amendments (Chapter 8)
How should industry notify amendments?

The table in the Guideline on the Requirements to the Chemical and Pharmaceutical Quality Documentation Concerning IMPs in Clinical Trials (CHMP/QWP/185401/2004) gives examples of what should be notified as substantial amendments and of changes where a notification will not be necessary. The list is not exhaustive, and the Sponsor should decide on a case-by-case basis if an amendment is to be classified as substantial or not.
Substantial amendments should be notified using the Notification of Amendment Form. Relevant updated sections of the documentation should be submitted, not the entire Quality Investigational Medicinal Product Dossier (IMPD).
For non-substantial amendments the form should not be used. The relevant authorities should be informed about relevant amendments together with an overall IMPD update or a substantial amendment. Documentation should not be submitted, but the relevant documentation should be recorded within the company.

3. Question: Shelf life extensions
Which information should be included in the file in order to make shelf life extensions without notification of a substantial amendment?

The criteria based on which it is intended to extend shelf life during an on-going study should be given. The information should include extension protocol limiting the maximum time period for extrapolation. In the case of any significant negative trend for stability data observed during long-term and accelerated testing, the sponsor should commit to notify any shelf life extension as a substantial amendment.

4. Question: Batch data
Are Certificates of Analysis needed?

No, tabulated batch results are sufficient. Data for representative batches should be included in the batch analysis table of the IMPD. Results for batches controlled according to previous, (wider) specifications are acceptable if the results comply with the specification for the planned clinical trial. The results should cover the relevant strengths, but the batches do not need to be the same that will be used in the clinical trial.

Source: EMEA Inspections QWP Questions and Answers

Wolfgang Schmitt
On behalf of the European Compliance Academy (ECA)

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