FDA Warning Letters for International APIs in 2011

January 8, 2012

API FDA Warning Letter International firms

API Warning Letters to International Manufacturers

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.

Deficiency Categories:

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.

FDA API Warning Letters in 2011

Failure to Have Procedures for Cross Contamination

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

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Two articles of interest regarding APIs:

Indian API Manufacturers want anti-dumping duties

API Product List (note countries of origin)

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FDA 483s: Effective Responses to Avoid Warning Letters

October 16, 2011

Responding to FDA 483

Effective Responses to Form FDA 483

An FDA inspection can result in a Form FDA 483, Inspectional Observations, being issued by the FDA field investigator. How you respond can determine whether the 483 will result in a Warning Letter, the primary form of FDA enforcement actions. How to respond to a 483 is a topic of discussion for regulated industry since the 483s arose in the early 1950s, originally as an attempt by FDA to respond to industry complaints that FDA didn’t inform industry about the field investigator’s findings prior to initiating an enforcement action (at the time primarily seizures, injunctions, and prosecutions). In this Guest Commentary regular GxP Perspectives contributors Emma Barsky and Len Grunbaum list the problems that FDA has found with responses to 483s and some proposed solutions.

Guest Commentary: One Way to Avoid a Warning Letter … Maybe

The following sentence fragments represent but a very small sample of trumpet calls heralding that a firm may have fumbled an opportunity to avoid a Warning Letter after receiving an FDA-483:

• “We have reviewed your response and have concluded that it is not adequate because…”

• “The adequacy of the response cannot be determined because the response did not include…”

• “Your response does not address…”

• “We have reviewed your firm’s response and note that it lacks sufficient corrective actions regarding…”

• “We have reviewed your firm’s responses; however we continue to have concerns related to your firm’s compliance…”

• “The adequacy of your firm’s response cannot be determined at this time…”

• “Your response is inadequate because…”

We say this because of the following: while a response to an FDA-483 is not mandatory and does not represent a final Agency determination regarding firm’s compliance, a firm’s voluntary response often does impact the Agency’s conclusion of the need for follow-up actions, one of which may be the much feared and dreaded Warning Letter. How so, you ask? Here is how….

FDA 483s and Warning Letters

"FDA will conduct a detailed review"

As the FDA indicates in section 5.2.7 of the Investigations Operations Manual, “If FDA receives an adequate response to the FDA-483 within 15 business days of the end of inspection [emphasis added]”, FDA will conduct a detailed review of the response before determining whether to issue a Warning Letter. Alternatively, responding late negates any chance that the FDA will consider the firm’s responses in its resolution regarding whether a Warning Letter is warranted and not responding at all, of course, has the same outcome as responding late.

This brings us to the quality of the response itself. In this context, the higher the “quality” of the response, the more likely the FDA will consider the response as “adequate” and, as a result, may not issue a Warning Letter. Since the firm’s management controls the quality and timeliness of everything that goes on, we suggest that the following guidelines be used to craft the response to the FDA-483 to increase the firm’s chances of avoiding the Warning Letter:

Train the individuals involved in the FDA-483 response effort regarding what information should be included in the response and the format chosen to present the response.

Assign someone to review recent FDA Warning Letters to identify those items where the FDA indicates that the response to the respective FDA-483 was not adequate and include these items in the training to ensure that known mistakes/failures are not repeated.

FDA 483 response

Focus Your Response

Focus on evaluating the extent of the observation in terms of whether the issue could have potentially impacted data integrity, and, if so, whether the issue is systemic (e.g., how many studies, batches, sites, etc. could be possibly affected). This is the most important point to address in terms negating the observation or softening the impact of the observation. If an observation points to actual data integrity issues, these issues need to be brought to the attention of the respective sponsors, where applicable, and responses to the FDA should be discussed with them first.

Establish the true root cause of the observation. In doing so, look for the operational gap (e.g., inefficient project management oversight) that resulted in the regulatory deficiency (e.g., lack of timely document reviews and/or approvals) so that it can be fixed properly and permanently.

Provide specifics regarding any corrective actions taken or proposed. It is not adequate to state that the problem was or will be corrected. Details regarding 1) what was/will be corrected (e.g., development of a remediation plan), 2) when it was/will be completed and 3) if applicable, the timeframe for training (e.g., as in case of a revised procedure) should be provided.

Describe preventive actions that will minimize or eliminate the chance of recurrence of the problem in the future.

Provide supporting documentation for every claim made.

Show commitment regarding implementing all of the proposed activities by 1) specifying activities to be taken and target dates for their completion, 2) assigning accountability for the actions, 3) ensuring proper completion of each respective activity though internal audits.

effectively responding to a 483

The Importance of a Quality Response to FDA 483s

The quality of the response to the FDA-483 is also important for another reason: groups like FOI Services request the Establishment Investigation Reports (EIR) and FDA-483s through the FOIA, so this information eventually winds up in the public domain.

The firm can request that its FDA-483 response be published along with the FDA-483 itself, in which case the response should be such that it gives confidence not only to the FDA but also, where applicable, to existing and potential clients, that non-conformities have not and do not impact data integrity.

The bottom line is this: Do not ever get yourself in trouble with the FDA. But if you do, avoid unforced errors by 1) taking the time and making the effort to respond to the FDA-483, if you get one, in a timely fashion, 2) using the guidelines above in doing so, or 3) consulting with an expert to assist.

By Emma Barsky and Len Grunbaum, the partners of The Practical Solutions Group, LLC

Contact Emma & Len

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ExL Pharma has announced that FDA’s Dr. Leslie Ball will give the Keynote Address at the 2nd annual Developing CAPAs in the GCP Environment conference held 19-20 January in Arlington, VA. GxP Perspectives is a media sponsor.

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Read FDA Warning Letters A suggested practice is to search Warning Letters by topic or issuing office. Then sort by “Letter Issue Date – Desc” to find the most recent Warning Letters.

19 October 2011 update: FDA posted a Warning Letter to SmithKline Beecham (GSK), West Sussex, UK for serious cGMP violations stating: “Your firm has not established appropriate written procedures designed to prevent microbiological contamination of drug products purporting to be sterile.”

Read the Warning Letter

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clinical trials FDA monitoring guidanceThere have been some great comments on the GxP Perspectives LinkedIn group on the Draft FDA Risk-Based Monitoring guidance document and on protocol deviations. I invite everyone to join the GxP Perspectives LinkedIn Group and join the discussion.

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On The Blogroll: Rebar Interactive (twitter: @rebarinte) has an excellent blog for clinical sites. If nothing else you MUST check out their post on:
Patient Recruitment: Think That You Might Be Wrong,”
if for nothing else than the photo. A great blog post by Rahlyn.
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FDA Issues 5 New International Warning Letters

May 15, 2011

FDA international warning letters

FDA's Increased International Presence

The “Most Recent Warning Letters” section of the FDA website lists five Warning Letters to international firms. The Warning Letters were posted on May 10 and will disappear into the Warning Letter labyrinth on the website in a few days (see previous post). They are to firms in both Europe and Asia and come from four different centers: the Center for Devices and Radiological Health; the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API); the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research; and the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (two Warning Letters for Seafood HACCP).

The Warning Letters do not state if the inspections were conducted by one of the FDA’s new International Resident Posts- but it is likely that the FDA’s increased global presence contributed to the enforcement actions. FDA now has offices in China, India, Belgium, and Costa Rica. This is addition to FDA’s International Inspection Cadre which is primarily drawn from FDA Field Investigators (Consumer Safety Officers) working for the 20 FDA District Offices across the country. The fact that different offices are issuing Warning Letters around the world at the same time gives a clear indication of FDA’s increased international enforcement efforts.

FDA International Resident Posts

Read the Warning Letters:

Hong Kong – Medical Devices

Spain – Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients

Sweden – Biologics cGMP

Korea – Seafood HACCP

On the Blogroll: Last week we had the FDA Lawyer’s Blog. This week I want to highlight a recent article on the FDA Law Blog on “FDA Warning Letter ‘Close Out’ Process Not Working.”

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FDA Warning Letters: How to Navigate FDA’s Website

May 10, 2011

FDA Warning Letter

One of the Many Exhibitors at the
ACRP Conference

FDA Warning Letters, and some thoughts on critical and creative thinking, conclude my reporting from the Global Conference for ACRP – the Association of Clinical Research Professionals – held last week at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. During the conference it became apparent that many people, including FDA employees, have a difficult time searching for Warning Letters on FDA’s website. The Warning Letter section is an absolute mess. So I thought I would provide a few simple search tips to help find Warning Letters for GCPs. Unfortunately cGMP Warning Letters are more difficult, but the tips still help. Then I would like to tell you about an interesting session I attended on critical and creative thinking.

When searching for FDA Warning Letters, the link is below, scroll down and choose to “Browse Warning Letters by SUBJECT.” You will be presented with the alphabet. Click on “C” and then scroll down past all the “cGMP” categories until you reach “Clinical Investigator” where you will find the majority of GCP Warning Letters.

FDA Warning Letters

Searching for FDA Warning Letters

They will be listed in alphabetical order. There is a “Sort by:” option. Choose “Letter issued DESC” from the drop down menu. You will then have most of the GCP Warning Letters with the most recent listed first. You can also choose as subjects: Clinical Investigator – Sponsor; Bioresearch Monitoring; IRBs; Sponsor Obligations; and “IDE….” for medical device Warning Letters. There are several ways of listing for each category. You can sort by “Letter Issued DESC” for each category. There are five GLP categories plus Good Laboratory Practices. Go figure.

FDA Warning Letters

There were a number of interesting sessions that I attended at the ACRP meeting. I wanted to tell you about Critical Thinking in a Regulated Environment, because it can be so darn difficult. Kirk Mousley described critical thinking as producing ideas and then evaluating ideas. Citing Iris Verdi he described creative thinking as original, imaginative, and uncommon. He discussed that creative thinking comes through different avenues: it is often a revisement of something that already exists (evolution); a combination of two or more ideas (synthesis); or just a different way of looking at things, asking yourself, “how else can I look at this?”

FDA Warning Letters

How Can I Look at This Differently?

Mousley also discussed the barriers to creative thinking including “not part of an approved process” (SOPs). He noted that the regulatory process itself discourages critical thinking by imposing a “process mentality.” He countered that by suggesting that you build into a process the encouragement of critical thinking. And he pointed out the myth that “every problem can only have one solution or one right answer.” One of the points that I emphasize when doing a root cause analysis of a problem identified during a CAPA process is that you should Always Look for More Than One Root Cause.

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On The Blogroll: The FDA Lawyers Blog discusses a variety of interesting issues including bioequivalence data, litigation tactics, and Victory for Embryonic Stem Cell Researchers.

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FDA Clinical Trials: Quality Considerations for Pivotal Studies

April 9, 2011

clinical trials considerations pivotal

When Should Quality Begin?

When should quality preparation begin for a pivotal phase III clinical trial? About once a month I get a call asking for help for a clinical trial because its time to get ready for FDA inspections. I ask “When will the application be filed?” The response? “Soon, very soon.”

It is a good thing to prepare for an FDA inspection. It is even better to prepare at the beginning, reviewing the quality considerations necessary to do the job right by “frontloading quality.” Here are some things I think you should consider. (Please take the survey at the end)

Phase III Considerations for Compliance with the FDA Bioresearch Monitoring Program: by Carl Anderson

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration conducts inspections of clinical trials as part of their Bioresearch Monitoring program. Although all FDA regulated clinical trials are subject to inspection, the large majority of inspections are the result of an application for the approval of an investigational product. Results of an FDA “Bimo” inspection can have a direct impact on the review and approval of an NDA, PMA, or BLA by the agency. FDA conducts inspections of clinical trials for two primary reasons:

1. To ensure the integrity of data submitted to the agency in support of an application.

2. To protect the safety, rights, and welfare of human participants in clinical trials.

The regulations that the FDA enforces for clinical trials are collectively known as the good clinical practice (GCP) regulations. They include 21 CFR Parts 11, 50, 54, 56, 312, 314, 601, 812, and 814. They can be found on the web at: http://www.fda.gov/oc/gcp/regulations.html. In particular FDA Bimo inspections cover the specific responsibilities required of sponsors and investigators covered by 21 CFR 312 Subpart D: Responsibilities of Sponsor and Investigators. For medical devices they are contained in Part 812.

The primary guidance document used for GCPs is the International Conference on Harmonization E6: Good Clinical Practice: Consolidated Guidance. This document is the international standard and the primary GCP regulation in many countries. ICH documents for clinical studies including E6 can be found at the link on the bottom

There are two types of GCP inspections that are of concern for sponsors. The first type is the inspection of clinical investigators at the sites where research is conducted. The majority of FDA inspections are of the investigators. The second type is the inspection of the sponsor or contract research organization. This is a routine inspection for medical device sponsors and is becoming more common at drug sponsors. Although most inspections are at clinical sites, in the event that serious deficiencies are documented, there can be directed inspections of sponsors that can result in serious regulatory action.

clinical trial consideration pivotal

QA for the Data Lifecycle

Prior to beginning a pivotal study the sponsor should establish a system of clinical quality assurance. This is a recommendation, not a requirement, of FDA. E6 defines quality assurance (QA) as: “All those planned and systematic actions that are established to ensure that the trial is performed and the data are generated, documented (recorded), and reported in compliance with GCP and applicable regulatory requirement(s).” Among the most important QA activities are the following:

Clinical trial materials. They should be produced in compliance with good manufacturing practice (GMP) regulations and qualified by an onsite audit.

pivotal clinical trial

Increased Enforcement of
Part 11

Computerized systems including eCRFs. There are many forward looking systems available for electronic case report forms (CRFs) including systems that are internet based. These vendors are not regulated by FDA and do not receive regulatory inspections. The burden is on the sponsor to determine if the vendor provides GCP compliant services. All should be qualified by an onsite audit.FDA has started looking a lot closer at eCRF systems.

Site management organizations (SMOs). These are unregulated organizations that provide support for clinical investigators and recruit study subjects. FDA inspections of sites using an SMO have frequently been cited for noncompliance with GCPs. SMOs should also receive onsite audits.

Central IRBs. These commercial institutional review boards have a better record than SMOs. However, the protection of human participants in research is a central FDA concern. Commercial IRBs should be qualified by an onsite audit.

Randomization services. This might not require an onsite audit and qualification, but the sponsor needs to critically determine that the vendor can supply the required services.

pivotal considerations for phase III clinical trials

QA Audits of Clinical Sites

Audits of clinical sites. ICH E6 states that: “The sponsor’s audit plan and procedures for a trial audit should be guided by the importance of the trial to submissions to regulatory authorities…” The sponsor should audit a pivotal clinical trial throughout the data lifecycle. In particular the sponsor should audit problematic sites during the study. It is the sponsor’s responsibility to “secure investigator compliance” if the investigator is violating GCPs. This was the first violation cited on the Sanofi-Aventis Warning Letter and has historically been a major violation cited on FDA Warning Letters to sponsors.

Top enrolling sites should always be audited during the course of the study because of their increased importance for a successful study and the likelihood that the site will receive an inspection by FDA. The sponsor should also audit sites that may be inspected by FDA at the conclusion of the study including data outliers, sites with a history of noncompliance, and sites that do not have a history of FDA inspections.

Database audits The sponsor’s data management activities should have independent QA review. This should include a qualification audit if data management is contracted out. An excellent resource for data management is the Society of Clinical Data Management. They publish a Good Clinical Data Management Practices Guide which is available for purchase on their website below.

Trial master file (TMF) audits: A TMF consists of the Essential Documents section of ICH E6. There should be QA review periodically throughout the study. The failure to adequately document a clinical trial will hinder any application to FDA. The agency field investigators have a saying that, “If it isn’t documented then it didn’t happen.” Take a look at the TMF page at the top of the blog for additional resources.

Pivotal clinical trial considerations

Conduct Regular GCP Training

GCP training: The sponsor should have a training program that includes initial and continuing training on good clinical practice. The training program should be in writing and training should be documented. At least once a year staff members should attend an outside conference, meeting, or workshop that includes clinical trial professionals that are not the sponsor’s employees.Peer-to-peer interactions are necessary to develop staff

GLP audits: The FDA conducts routine surveillance audits of nonclinical test facilities. An FDA inspector may randomly select a study of the sponsor to track as part of that inspection. Protocols and final reports are collected and sent to FDA headquarters as part of the inspection. The sponsor should always qualify a nonclinical laboratory used for GLP studies submitted to the agency. The new FDA Sponsor Compliance Program (see previous post) gives instructions for looking at nonclinical studies during GCP inspections at the sponsor.

Sponsor audits and mock FDA inspections

pivotl phase III clinical trials

Always Prepare for an FDA Inspection

Finally, a sponsor should conduct audits of their clinical management department and conduct “mock FDA inspections” in preparation for the regulatory audits that will inevitably take place after the NDA, PMA, or BLA is filed. Preparing for a regulatory inspection is invaluable for effectively hosting any regulatory agency, in particular FDA. Medical device sponsors need to remember that FDA typically inspects sponsors submitting a PMA. Drug sponsor inspections are on the increase. The “OAI” violation rate for inspections of medical device sponsors was 33% in fiscal year 2007. OAI stands for “official action indicated” the most serious classification.

An OAI classification can cause FDA to delay or reject an application.

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Please take a short 3-question survey to help GxP Perspectives improve! Survey begins 22 SEP 2011

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This just in: Request for Comments- Exculpatory Language Used in Informed Consent, a joint FDA and OHRP draft guidance document (September 2011)

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Society for Clinical Data Management

ICH Guidance Documents
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On the Blogroll: PharmTech Talk has had a number of interesting blog posts of late.
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FDA clinical trials pivotal studies

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FDA Warning Letters in 2010 for GCP Failures

January 1, 2011

FDA Warning Letters GCP

FDA Maintains Pace for GCP Warning Letters
in 2010

After a significant rise in Warning Letters issued for GCP failures the past few years, FDA seems to have leveled off in the number of Warning Letters issued in 2010. I have not seen FDA metrics for Fiscal Year 2010 but my own review of Warning Letters issued to clinical investigators in 2010 doesn’t show a sharp increase, only more of the same. In particular, the primary deficiency categories are quite similar as they were 15 years ago when I attended my first FDA Bioresearch Monitoring course. Although the terminology has modernized over the years it can be summed up in four words: protocol adherence and recordkeeping.

UPDATE: I have posted below the BIMO FY-2010 Metrics below, courtesy of the Office of Good Clinical Practice- FDA/OC (many thanks). They are the people responsible for the Clinical Trials link on the FDA website. The metrics essentially confirm some of the conclusions of this post.

When looking at an FDA Warning Letter I am always curious about the very first charge that is listed. You will note that FDA does not use categories such as Critical, Major, or Minor as many company QA departments do. MHRA, the United Kingdom’s regulatory agency for health products, also uses a rating system, Major, Minor, and “Other.” However, FDA lists violations in the order of significance and the first item listed on either a Warning Letter or Form FDA 483, Inspectional Observations, is supposed to be the most significant. In ten Warning Letters I reviewed that were issued to clinical investigators in 2010 “failure to follow the investigational plan” was listed first on Warning Letters issued by the Center for Drugs four times. “Failure to conduct the investigation according to the signed agreement, the investigational plan, and FDA regulations was listed first in two Warning Letters issued by the Center for Devices and Radiological Health. The lesson here is that FDA pays close attention to protocol adherence.

FDA Warning Letters GCP

Keeping on Top of Records and the TMF

Recordkeeping violations were listed first on one Warning Letter but were included on eight of the ten Warning Letters I reviewed. Perhaps this is one of the reasons for the strong interest in the trial master file, the TMF. This pattern of violations has been happening a very long time. The first article I wrote after leaving FDA (six years ago) was called, “Protocol Adherence and Recordkeeping: The Twin Pillars of GCPs.” A typical Warning Letter was issued on 30 September 2010 (there is a link below). So the good news is that many researchers are paying attention to the increase in FDA Warning Letters the past few years and are instituting changes. The bad news is that there are still some people that keep repeating the same mistakes.

FDA GCP Warning Letter: 30 SEP 10

BIMO metrics – FY-2010

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A new feature from FDAzilla on FDA 483s

Read the Press Release on 483s

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Visit the TMF Page at the Top Right of the Blog! I am trying to assemble resources for those of us concerned with the Trial Master File. I welcome any contributions you might have of interesting articles and resource documents.

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In news from GxP Perspectives.

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On the Blogroll: Catalyst Biomedical – A blog that I recently discovered and that you may find of interest

Two Important New GCP Documents: There is a new Final Rule on required elements of Informed Consent. You can read the Federal Register Announcement here that includes FDA comments in the preamble. The exact change in 21 CFR Part 50 is:

“Sec. 50.25 Elements of informed consent.

* * * * *
(c) When seeking informed consent for applicable clinical trials,
as defined in 42 U.S.C. 282(j)(1)(A), the following statement shall be
provided to each clinical trial subject in informed consent documents
and processes. This will notify the clinical trial subject that
clinical trial information has been or will be submitted for inclusion
in the clinical trial registry databank under paragraph (j) of section
402 of the Public Health Service Act. The statement is: “A description
of this clinical trial will be available on
http:[sol][sol]www.ClinicalTrials.gov, as required by U.S. Law. This
Web site will not include information that can identify you. At most,
the Web site will include a summary of the results. You can search this
Web site at any time.”

Your comments are welcome on FDA Warning Letters


FDA Warning Letters to International Companies for CAPAs & Complaints

November 28, 2010

FDA warning letter CAPA complaint

Warning Letters for CAPAs & Complaint Investigations

In the past 90 days FDA issued five Warning Letters to international firms for GMP failures to adequately investigate complaints. Whether it is GMPs, GCPs, or GLPs FDA is making the case that when things go wrong, it is a company’s responsibility to investigate and implement the necessary corrective and preventative action (CAPA), In the past, FDA was hesitant to issue Warning Letters to firms outside the United States. That clearly is changing as both the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) and the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) have issued Warning Letters to companies in Canada, Switzerland, China, Sweden, and India. Although the companies are from diverse locations and range from medical devices, active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), and finished pharmaceuticals, one issue connects them all: the failure to adequately address complaints. For the medical device Warning Letters, corrective and preventative actions (CAPAs) figured prominently.

FDA first opened international offices in 2008 in India and China and now has offices in Europe and Latin America as well. The international offices are predominantly focused on GMPs for food, drugs, and medical devices. FDA has also stepped up its inspections of clinical trials in international locations including Russia and Eastern Europe. However, there has not been the corresponding surge in Warning Letters. At least not yet. Here are charges that FDA made in the international Warning Letters:

CAPA complaint FDA warning letter

Failure to Investigate Bacterial Contamination

Claris (India): On April 15, 2010, your firm received a complaint from a U.S. distributor (Sagent Pharmaceuticals) informing you that Metronidazole Injection USP IV bags (lot A090744) were contaminated with a informing you that Metronidazole Injection USP IV bags (lot A090744) were contaminated with a swirling mass, which the complainant identified as the fungus Cladosporium species. There is no information in the Complaint Investigation Report to show that Claris initiated an investigation to determine the root cause and extent of the problem until April 26, 2010, when Claris received this contaminated large volume parenteral and examined it.

Storz Medical (Switzerland): Failure to establish and maintain adequate procedures for verifying or validating the corrective and preventive action to ensure that such action is effective and does not adversely affect the finished device, as required by 21 CFR 820.100(a)(4). For example, no protocol, including acceptance criteria, was established for the validation of Change Request (b)(4). Additionally, there was no documentation showing that this change was validated. The change was implemented to fix cracked cooling pumps in the Modulith SLX-F2.

The Warning Letter goes on to say:

international complaint investigation failure FDA

Failure to Establish Procedures for Complaints

Failure to establish and maintain adequate procedures to ensure that any complaint involving the possible failure of a device, labeling, or packaging to meet any of its specifications shall be reviewed, evaluated, and investigated unless such investigation has already been performed for a similar complaint and another investigation is not necessary, as required by 21 CFR 820.198(c).

Neoventa Medical AB (Sweden): 1. Failure to establish and maintain adequate procedures for implementing corrective and preventive action that include requirements for verifying or validating the corrective and preventive action to ensure that such action is effective and does not adversely affect the finished device and that all activities required under this section and their results be documented, as required by 21 CFR 820.100(a)(4) and (b).

2. Failure to establish and maintain adequate procedures for receiving, reviewing, and evaluating complaints by a formally designated unit, as required by 21 CFR 820.198(a).

Once again the direct connection between the failure to investigate complaints and the failure of a system of CAPA.

FDA Warning Letters CAPA

Chinese API Manufacturer Hit with FDA Warning Letter

Yunnan Hande (China): Failure to thoroughly investigate complaints for APIs batches that do not meet the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) compendial requirements that may have been associated with the specific failure or discrepancy. In addition, your investigation was not extended to other batches that may also be affected.

Pega Medical (Canada): Failure to establish and maintain the requirements, including quality requirements, that must be met by suppliers, contractors, and consultants, as required by 21 CFR 820.50(a)… For example, Complaint NCR No. (b)(4) reported…”

Read the Warning Letters:

Storz Medical, AG Warning Letter

Yunnan Hande Biotech Warning Letter

Claris India Warning Letter

Pega Medical Warning Letter

Neoventa Medical AB

FDA International Resident Posts

And What About Clinical Trials?

At a recent FDANews conference FDA representative Ann Meeker-O’Connell, M.S., Division of Scientific Investigations, Office of Compliance CDER/FDA, said,

FDA warning letter international complaint investigations

Clinical Trial CAPAs Face Different Challenges

“But, clinical trials are inherently variable systems with a goal of producing reliable data for regulatory decision-making . . . How can this be reconciled with a quality system framework originating in mass manufacturing?”

That is a very good question and one that many of us have been wrestling with. However, it is clear that FDA has been taking on the question of the international nature of the drug and device industry, including manufacturing and clinical trials.

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Read about the Academy of Medical Research Report by Nick Taylor in Outsourcing-Pharma

UPDATE: There is a very interesting Important Notice to IRBs that is on the FDA website. Sort of a Coast IRB redux.

Public Comment Period is Open for New FDA Draft Guidance:
FDA Draft Guidance on Electronic Source Data in Clinical Investigations

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Visit the TMF Page at the Top Right of the Blog! I am trying to assemble resources for those of us concerned with the Trial Master File. I welcome any contributions you might have of interesting articles and resource documents.

On FDA’s Website there are Two New Warning Letters from FDA to Clinical Investigators that show the need to effectively respond to a Form FDA 483, Inspectional Observations, with a well thought out CAPA Plan.


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