USP General Chapter <1058> Analytical Instrument Qualification Comes into Force on 1 August 2008

GMP News
26 March 2008

USP General Chapter <1058> Analytical Instrument Qualification
Comes into Force on 1 August 2008

For some time now, one could follow the development of a USP General Chapter dealing with the qualification of analytical instruments in the Pharmacopoeial Forum. After several draft versions had been presented and commented, not long ago the General Chapter <1058> was published in the first supplement of the USP 31 / NF 28 (2008), which comes into force on 1 August 2008.

As is well known, General Chapters with numbers larger than <999> are only recommendatory. Nevertheless, the pharmaceutical industry is glad that, with this chapter, it has now an official regulatory basis for the qualification of equipment in pharmaceutical quality control. Up till now, the qualification approaches had to be deduced and adopted from general recommendations, e. g. from Annex 15 to the EC GMP Guide (Qualification and Validation). With General Chapter <1058> there is now a solid basis for analytical instrument qualification on the part of the pharmacopoeias. This is not surprising, since the specific requirements on the calibration and monitoring of analytical instruments have long been included in the general equipment-related chapters of the pharmacopoeias.

The new USP chapter recommends the well-established qualification phases also for analytical instruments:

  • Design Qualification
  • Installation Qualification
  • Operational Qualification
  • Performance Qualification

One interesting fact is that, by performance qualification, the periodic checks of the instrument in defined intervals are meant, i.e. performance qualification now includes the regular calibration activities, preventive maintenance and necessary repairs over the whole runtime of the individual device - naturally taking change control into consideration.

What is especially helpful for daily practice is the USP's proposal of a stepped model for different categories of instruments. It suggests three categories:

Group A (simple equipment)
Group B (among others for thermometers, pH meters, refractometers)
Group C (computer-based devices, like HPLC, GC, NIR, etc.)

For these different groups, the range of qualification measures can be laid down in a stepped way in the companies.

Moreover, this chapter also includes a brief statement on software validation.

Dr Günter Brendelberger
On behalf of the European Compliance Academy (ECA)

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