News from the FDA Regarding Inspections, GMP Deficiencies and Recalls

GMP News
22 October 2007

News from the FDA Regarding Inspections, GMP Deficiencies and Recalls

At the 2nd European GMP Conference, held in Heidelberg on 21 and 22 June 2007, Fred Blumenschein, Compliance Officer of FDA's CDER, informed about FDA's "enforcement trends", i.e. the Agency's inspection developments.

The FDA conducts about 1,200 GMP inspections of manufacturers of medicinal products for human use ("human drug cGMP inspections") in the USA. For foreign inspections, Blumenschein gave the number of about 200 FDA inspections per year. In 2005, in 100 inspections, deficiencies of so-called "moderate significance" were found, that is to say deficiencies due to which the companies had to induce changes. Twelve inspections resulted in follow-up measures by the FDA, i.e. they led to "regulatory actions", like e.g. "warning letter, seizure or injunction".

The top nine cGMP deficiencies listed by Fred Blumenschein were:

  • Lab controls (211.160)
  • Validation of production and process controls (211.100)
  • Cleaning equipment (211.67)
  • Batch production records (211.188)
  • Quality Control responsibilities (211.22)
  • Stability (211.166)
  • Batch release testing (211.165)
  • Record review/investigation (211.192)
  • Complaint investigation (211.198)
  • And the five most frequent cGMP problem areas are:

  • Having and following sound lab SOPs; documenting results, testing stability
  • Investigating complaints/issues fully
  • Following production SOPs
  • QC not exercising real oversight
  • Validating manufacturing processes properly
  • The foreign inspections were discussed in detail. The illustration (see illustration 1) shows the percentage of foreign inspections by country. The German-speaking countries are listed twice - Switzerland with 4% and Germany with 9% (rank 3).

    Foreign Inspections by Country - FY 2006

    Conspicuous - but comparable to the past years - is the high share of API inspections with 50% (see ill. 2). The list of individual deficiencies with reference to API manufacturers (see ill. 3) and manufacturers of medicinal products (see ill. 4) shows deficiencies that have been observed for many years:

    • Lab Controls (APIs and medicinal products)
    • Production Records/Reports (APIs)
    • Equipment Cleaning and Maintenance (APIs and medicinal products)
    • Cleaning Validation (APIs and medicinal products)
    • Failure/OOS-Investigations (medicinal products)
    • Process Validation (medicinal products)
    • Equipment Qualification (medicinal products)

    GMP Deficiencies at Foreigns API Manufacturers - FY 2006

    GMP Deficiencies at Foreign Dosage Manufacturers - FY 2006

    Another interesting  point are the most frequent cGMP deficiencies in foreign inspections (see ill. 5). Here, the red spot marks the position of the deficiencies in 2004.

    Foreign Inspection Data: 2006 Most Common CGMP Deficiencies

    Sven Pommeranz
    On behalf of ECA

    European Compliance Academy
    2nd European GMP Conference in co-operation with University of Heidelberg and European QP Association from 21-22 June 2007


    Tip: If you would like to inform yourself about how to prepare for an inspection, attend our 3-day intensive seminar "How to pass EU and FDA Inspections" in Vienna, Austria, from 29 to 31 October 2007.

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