GMP News No. 432
1 July 2004
FDA Warning Letter Report
If one counts the citations of the individual paragraphs of 21 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) Part 211 in the FDA warning letters, one gets an overview of the principal deficiencies found by FDA representatives during inspections.
For the Fiscal Year 2003 (Oct. 2002 till Sept. 2003) we have finalised the analysis of all 42 warning letters citing the paragraphs of Part 211. Sorted by frequency, the deviations can be represented by the following graph:
The following table shows the exact titles of the paragraphs as well as their assignment to the individual systems observed by FDA according to its system-based inspection approach, which became official in February 2002 (see our GMP News of 21 July 2003).
From this compilation, it becomes clear that deficiencies in the quality system were the most frequent ones. As in the past year, the list is headed by § 211.100, which refers to the creation, approval and handling of written procedures in the production area and to the handling of deviations (see our GMP News of 2 April 2004; the analysis given in that news relates to the calendar year 2002, not to the fiscal year). The findings referred to the fact that there were no written procedures or that the existing procedures were not followed - failures ascribed to the Quality Unit, just as in the fields "Testing and Release for Distribution" (211.165) and "Production Record Review" (211.192). Another thing often criticised by the FDA was the QU's failure to carry out its responsibilities and duties in an appropriate way.
As it was to be expected, the image of the higher positions of the top ten deficiencies found in FY 2003 does not differ much from that of FY 2002. According to the system-based inspection approach, the FDA takes an especially critical look at the quality system in every inspection.
In contrast, there was a great increase in findings concerning the facilities and equipment system with regard to the qualification, validation and calibration of production equipment (211.68) - as well as in the packaging and labeling system with regard to the handling and control of labels (211.125).
The number of observations concerning "Equipment Cleaning and Maintenance" (211.67) and "Stability Testing" (211.166) has fallen significantly; however, even if less frequent, these topics are still to be found among the top ten.
Generally, the analysis of warning letters provides valuable clues to the preparation of FDA inspections. One of the most important tasks to be fulfilled prior to an FDA visit is to check the quality system for possible gaps and to close them. As the other systems intersect with the quality system in several points, this approach should prove to be very efficient.
Our analyses result in data collections containing the precise descriptions of the findings in question. From now on, we will publish extracts of this very comprehensive data collection, which will deal with individual deviations from the top-ten list. You can see a sample page of the data collection if you click here.
the members of the European Compliance Academy, we have made available the
tables for the top 3 deviations in the members area (see item in the top
We offer topical seminars on the most frequently mentioned deviations in FDA warning letters with speakers from authorities and the industry.
Responsibilities of Quality Control Unit (211.22 CFR)
Testing and Release for Production (211.165 CFR/211.160)
Batch Production and Control Records (211.188 CFR)
Stability Testing (211.166 CFR)
Inform yourself comprehensively about the latest developments and trends!
Dr Gerhard Becker