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Indian Companies get hammered in Q1 2014

April 1st, 2014 by

In the first quarter of 2014, there are 3 warning letters for Indian Companies.  Add to that the travails of Wockhardt and Ranbaxy over the last couple of years and it looks bleak for Indian Companies in general.  I regularly read LinkedIn Groups and I noticed a thread related the question of reliability of Indian Medicines.

Can We trust Indian  Drug Companies?

It created a firestorm of responses, many of which were from India.  The responses fell into three categories which I will paraphrase

1. The FDA is picking on us – EU and US companies have the same problems

2. I would never take an Indian medicine again

3. Indan regulators find no problem who is the FDA to tell us what our standard should be

1. Of course some US and EU and other country companies have run foul of the law. Actually there are over twice the number of warning letters directed to Pharmacies than Indian companies in Q1.  So maybe the FDA is picking on a broader range of companies.  Or putting it another way – they are doing their job and hard one it is.

2. Are all Indian companies bad?  Of course not.  I do not know the statistics but I have heard that 50% (and it could be higher or lower) of the US generics is from India and undoubtedly the major are fine (at least I hope so).

3. I am sorry but if you want to sell drugs on the US market you have to play by the rules here.  On paper, the Indian regulations are as tough as the FDAs but the question is detection of issues and enforcement that will separate the theory from the reality.

So what are the issues that are found

UVS issues appear to relate to data integrity.  Check my  previous posting on the blog .  The link to the warning letter is here

Smruthi Organics Ltd has a Warning Letter with only 3 observations.  One centered on data deletion, record destruction and inadequate investigations.  The link is here

Canton Laboratories Private LTD has a warning letter with 4 observations.  The essence is failure to keep data from testing, failure to actually test, failure to adequately clean equipment and failure to manufacture according to instructions and keep adequate records..  The link to the Warning Letter is here

In reality there is a lot of similarity in all these observations.  It does make one wonder about the quality of medicines.  Is this the tip of the iceberg?  Should I be worried?


Not just telling you your faults but how to rectify

March 30th, 2014 by

When I read FDA Warning Letters and I do often, most take the format of telling you the observations and then indicating that this is not a complete list. However, about 10% go one step further and basically read you the riot act suggesting that you need to hire a consultant to “educate you” on the errors of your ways. These are quite common.
But I believe they went to the next level for USV Limited of Mumbai. In the 2/6/2014 WL, they even listed out 7 steps for remediation. View this as reading the riot act 7 times over. Basically there was suspicion of fraud in the data.

The link is Warning Letter

They went on as follows
Get a consultant specialising in data fraud to do the following
1.) Identify the time period when the issue occurred
2.) Identify and interview employees involved in that period
3.) Identify and interview employees who have left who were employed during the period
4.) Gather data to support what comes out of the interview
5.) Trace issues to specific managers including senior management
6.) Determine if any other offending managers are in a position to influence data integrity decisions and expand your oversight
7.) Put into place procedures to prevent recurrence and assure there are no discrepancies between what was filed and reality. Create CAPAs to remedy issues. This does not apply simply to what we found but everything in essence.
Nothing revolutionary just common sense.

The new EU Process Validation Guidance and what it says

February 28th, 2013 by

The initial draft of the EU Guidance for Process Validation was released for comment and the comment period closed in October. So what has the thoughts on the new guidance since it was released? Read the linked article in Master Control on line journal for some insights.

What are the requirements for shipping products?

December 12th, 2012 by

Pharmaceuticals are notoriously heat labile; at least many of the new high tech ones. Many require cold temperature storage at 2-8C. While they can withstand higher temperature for short periods of time, the shelf life of the products is defined by the recommended storage temperature of 2-8C.

With that understanding, is it acceptable to routinely ship them at elevated temperatures eg. ambient? Think of the money we could save says your friendly distribution staff.

This was the question posed to me recently in a webinar hosted by The Tungsten Shield Group on Cold Chain Distribution.

The European regulations are clear. The transportation temperature must be the same as the recommended storage condition. Distribution is really moving storage. Thus, a product designed as requiring cold storage, also requires the same cold condition for distribution. It is clear.

However, the FDA is particularly silent on this in regulations at least. However, they do expect transportation conditions to equal the storage conditions. Thus even the FDA does no condone this practice.

Both regulatory bodies recognize that things go wrong. A shipment heats up due to delays beyond the validated time. Patients leave the drug on the dashboard of the car for hours. These things happen. And a robust stability program designed to explore the impact of elevated temperatures can come to the rescue to determine if the abnormal conditions have degraded the product or not.

However, these accelerated conditions hsould not be used to justify a save a buck program that puts product in jeopardy.

Regulations versus Good Business Practices

November 30th, 2012 by

It has come to my attention in webinars I present, mostly through The Tungsten Shield Group, classes I teach at University of California and my consulting work, that many people have lost sight of what their goals should be. When we develop systems, put controls in place, monitor processes, we do it because it makes good business sense. Rather I am sensing a trend for people doing this activity to satisfy regulators. They ask the question

“what do the regulators expect?”

That is instead of developing a robust business process and fine tuning it to meet their needs.
I illustrated this point several months ago related to lot disposition in Designing your QMS post
But in a recent class, I unearthed another example. I was presenting a case for validating components of the cold chain – specifically, the ability of the insulated shipper to keep the product cold for the required time. I iterated that after the validation activity, I would ship certain prodcts with monitoring probes to track the temperature of the shipment for the duration. I indicated I would do it for the first x batches to confirm that the validation was indeed valid. Also it was a measure to assure product integrity if the shipping took longer than planned or the expternal temperature was outside anticipated range. I also indicated that there might be circumstances where I might continue this for a long period.

You might view this as belt and suspenders. But when the integrity of a product in shipment is critical, I think this is small price to pay. When would I do it? For clinical trial materials, where product integrity is critical is one example. I might also do it fr critical product lanuches where success needs to be assured.

The questioner followed up and stated.

If the regulators do not require it I won’t do it?

This in my mind is an example of putting the horse before the cart. and an unwise practice.
We should design processes that meet our business needs. I can assure you that they will meet 95% of regulatory requirements if they are designed well.