FDA issued at least ten Warning Letters to international manufacturers of active pharmaceutical ingredients in FY-2011. Manufacturers in both China and India, the world’s largest exporters of APIs, received three Warning Letters each from FDA. Manufacturers in Spain, the UK, Canada, and Japan each received one Warning Letter from FDA. These metrics show both the domination of China and India in the API market as well as the continued dependence on international manufacturers for APIs destined for the U.S. market.
The violation that dominated the charges cited by FDA in FY-2011 related to quality control, cited in four Warning Letters, two to China and one each to Canada and Japan.Another violation that is sure to cause concern with FDA is the failure to prevent cross-contamination. When I attended FDA API inspection training in 2000 cross-contamination, particularly with anti-biotics, was a major concern. It continues to be with API manufacturers in both India and China being cited for the “Failure to have appropriate procedures in place to prevent cross-contamination.”
Out of specification (OOS) laboratory results are always a concern of FDA and landed on Warning Letters to manufacturers in India and Spain. Other citations include:
= Water purification for APIs used in parenterals
= Failure to establish a stability program to monitor APIs
= Failure to perform at least one identity test of each batch of incoming material
= Validation of analytical methods used to test APIs
There are no big surprises here but it shows that regular surveillance of API vendors is an absolute necessity for the manufacture of quality drug products. What is of interest is that GxP Perspectives couldn’t find any domestic Warning Letters for APIs. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist, only that they couldn’t be easily located. Unfortunately, FDA lists API Warning Letters in any number of classifications for GMPs for finished pharmaceuticals. However, they don’t seem to list them for APIs. With all the razzle-dazzle taking place on FDA’s website, you would think they could come up with a consistent way to list API Warning Letters. Who knows, maybe next year.
by Carl Anderson, GxP Perspectives
Research by Francesca Carreras-Perez, GxP Perspectives
Two articles of interest regarding APIs:
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