Chapter 5 of the EC GMP Guide for the area of production was already updated last year. However, not everybody really knows that it contains concrete information about the conditions when testing and sampling of APIs and excipients can be reduced. Particularly sections 5.35 and 5.36 include requirements and thus show possibilities for a reduction.
Basically, the manufacturers of finished products are responsible for every testing of starting materials as described in the marketing authorisation dossier. Yet, part of or complete test results from the approved starting material manufacturer can be used, but at least their identity has to be tested - as described in the in the marketing authorisation dossier.
If one chooses to outsource the testing activity to the supplier, this has to be justified and documented. Moreover, a few additional measures have to be fulfilled, like:
Particular attention should be paid to the distribution controls (transport, wholesaling, storage, delivery) to ensure that ultimately the test results are still applicable to the delivered material.
Performance of risk-based audits at the sites executing the testing and sampling of starting materials to verify the GMP compliance and to ensure that the specifications and testing methods are used as described in the marketing authorisation dossier.
The certificate of analysis of the manufacturer/supplier of the starting material should be signed by a designated person with appropriate qualifications and experience. The signature confirms the compliance with the agreed product specification.
The medicinal product manufacturer should have adequate experience in dealing with the starting material manufacturer - including assessment of batches previously received and the history of compliance before reducing own, internal testing.
At appropriate intervals, the medicinal product manufacturer or another approved contract laboratory has to carry out a full analysis to compare the test results with the results of the certificate of analysis of the material manufacturer or supplier, and thus to check their reliability. In case of discrepancy, an investigation has to be performed and appropriate measures taken. The certificates of analysis cannot be accepted until those measures are completed.