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A clear process for compliant laboratory OOS investigations

The core of successful operation by a drug maker is laboratory testing. current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) regulations require a drug manufacturer to use laboratory testing as a tool to validate that everything that goes into a laboratory product, such as in-process materials, finished materials, and containers adhere to set specifications. When all these are done, a major challenge for laboratories is in how to deal with a test that shows an Out of Specification (OOS) result.

Out of Specification results are viewed very seriously by the FDA

The FDA is uncompromising when it comes to dealing with Out of Specification results in laboratories. Its inspections of laboratory operations are very meticulous. It requires complete adherence to its guidances on how the laboratory has to investigate its Out of Specification and Out-of-Tolerance observations.

The ways by which finished Out of Specification products have to conform to set specifications, safety standards and other quality standards are specified in cGMP regulation Sec 211.165. Any lab whose result fails to do this gets summarily rejected. Another iteration of these cGMP regulations is that any unexplained deviation from the set specifications of a batch or its contents, whose test results show an Out of Specification result, will be subject to thorough investigation. Whether batches have only been manufactured and are yet to be distributed, or already are; the same rule applies.

Ways of dealing with Out of Specification results

This is the protocol that the cGMP regulation makes for dealing with Out of Specification testing:

o  Out of Specification testing is mandatory for the release of a test batch

o  The batch in which an Out of Specification result is confirmed gets rejected

o  The company’s Quality Assurance (QA) will have to state the reasons for the release of a batch that has an element of ambiguity in the result, and has to justify it.

The requirement that current Good Manufacturing Practices need to go into the manufacture of both active pharmaceutical ingredient and finished pharmaceuticals is stated in Section 501(a) 2 (b) of cGMP guidelines on Out of Specification. Also, all aspects such as active pharmaceutical ingredients, raw material testing, in-process and stability testing and Process Validation come under the ambit of the cGMP guidelines.

The FDA guidance on Out of Specification relates to the following products:

o  Human drugs

o  Combination products

o  Biology and biotechnological products

o  Type A medicated articles

o  Transplantation of human tissues

o  Finished products & active pharmaceutical ingredients

o  Medicated feed

o  Dietary supplements

o  Veterinary drugs

Out of Specification needs to be understood fully first

A reading of the above attests to the fact that a thorough understanding of the nature of the issues relating to Out of Specification results needs to be made for a laboratory to meet the required results. All the concerned persons should have complete knowledge of the FDA expectations for Out of Specification results.

It is this knowledge that needs to be applied to put in place procedures that define a complete, scientifically sound investigation of each Out of Specification and Out-of-Trend laboratory observation, as well as for establishing evidence that laboratory personnel conform to the procedures.

A proper learning session on dealing with Out of Specification results

A webinar from Compliance4All, a leading provider of cost-effective professional trainings for all the areas of regulatory compliance, will be providing learning on these aspects.

Jerry Lanese, an independent consultant who focuses on Quality Systems and the components of an effective Quality System, will be the speaker. Please visit Out-Of-Specification Laboratory Results to enroll for this highly educative session.

Tools for dealing with Out of Specification results

The speaker of this webinar will help participants build a basis for the implementation of adequate procedures that help avoid Out of Specification results. He will also review existing procedures and practices. Any laboratory personnel, who need understanding of the steps that a compliant laboratory has to take to handle the investigation of Out of Specification test results, will find this session very useful.

The ways in which the laboratory has to interface with other units through the laboratory investigation process will be explained. The speaker will dwell mainly on the FDA guidance on handling OOS laboratory results and will suggest a clear process for compliant laboratory Out of Specification investigations.

The following areas will be covered at this webinar:

o  Why the regulators are concerned about the handling of OOS investigations

o  The FDA model for handling OOS investigations

o  Commonly accepted terminology such as repeat testing and retesting

o  How the laboratory can meet regulatory expectations for OOS investigations.

o  The interaction between the laboratory and other units in the organization.

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