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The regulations in the GMP area, and thus also the framework conditions for your company, are constantly changing.
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In addition, we gather information on international news portals on current pharmaceutical topics.

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News about GMP/cGMP


As of July 2020 the EMA (European Medicines Agency) has amended the European "Joint Audit Programme, JAP". These adaptations enable regulatory authorities from third countries with an existing EU-MRA (Mutual Recognition Agreement) to participate as co-auditors in JAP audits of EEA GMP inspectorates.


Shortly after the publication of the EMA's final assessment report on nitrosamine impurities in medicinal products (we reported), a 15-page Q&A for marketing authorisation holders and applicants was published on 6 August 2020.

It replaces the document 'Information on nitrosamines for marketing authorisation holders' EMA/428592/2019 published in September 2019, which was withdrawn.   


On 20 July 2020, EMA published the final 10-page Guideline on the quality of water for pharmaceutical use.
The date of entry into force will be 1 February 2021.


The Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has published a final assessment report on nitrosamine impurities.


On 1 July 2020, the Swiss Federal Council adopted the revised Ordinance on Medical Devices (MedDO) and the new Ordinance on Clinical Trials for Medical Devices (ClinO-MD).   


The French company GMED, based in Paris was designated 15th Notified Body under the new Medical Devices Regulation (MDR) on July 8, 2020.


On 25 June 2020, the Management Board of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) selected the Irish pharmacist Emer Cooke as the new EMA Executive Director from a list of candidates prepared by the European Commission.


EMA and the Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) have signed an agreement to exchange confidential information on medicines for the treatment, diagnosis or prevention of COVID-19.


The European Commission, the EMA and the European Network of Medicines Regulatory Authorities have published the third version of the Q&A on regulatory expectations for medicinal products for human use during the COVID-19 pandemic on July 1, 2020. The document has meanwhile grown from originally 7 to now 23 pages and intends to serve pharmaceutical companies as a guide on current adjustments to the regulatory framework due to COVID-19.


On 23 June 2020, the European medicines regulatory network published the outcome of a lessons learned exercise on the presence of nitrosamines in sartan medicines. This includes recommendations to help reduce the risk of impurities in medicines, and to ensure that regulators are better prepared to manage cases of unexpected impurities. The report is called "Lessons learnt from presence of N-nitrosamine impurities in sartan medicines".


As announced by TÜV Süd Product Service GmbH on 17 June 2020, the German Central Authority of the Länder for Health Protection with regard to Medicinal Products and Medical Devices (ZLG) designated the company as the fourth Notified Body according to the In Vitro Diagnostic Regulation (IVDR).


In May 2020, the WHO published the following three drafts for commentary: 


On 3rd June 2020, the European Commission published a concept for the safe and affordable supply of medicinal products in Europe. 
The initiative Pharmaceutical Strategy - Timely patient access to affordable medicines is designed to facilitate innovation in the pharmaceutical industry. 


The WHO Expert Committee on Specifications for Pharmaceutical Preparations meets annually and their reports (Technical Report Series) include all adopted guidelines in form of Annexes.

With the publication of the 54th Technical Report Series No. 1025 of the WHO, several new and revised Guidelines were adopted and recommended for use.


A second revised version of the Q&A document was published on May 26, 2020. A new block of questions (sub-point 6) with six questions and answers deals with the additional temporary flexibility in the GMP/GDP area.


The Swedish company Intertek announced on 15 May 2020 that Intertek Medical Notified Body AB (IMNB) has been designated as the 14th Notified Body against the EU Medical Device Regulation 2017/745 (MDR). 


The US FDA is planning a gradual re-start of on-site surveillance inspections in cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


On 15 May 2020, the European Commission has announced to extend the time frame for the consultation on Annex 21 Importation of Medicinal Products until 20 August 2020. This step is justified by the challenges arising in connection with COVID-19.


As the EMA announced on 30 April 2020, all ranitidine medicines in the EU are to be taken off the market. 


On 30 April 2020, the European Commission has announced to extend the time frame for the second consultation on Annex 1 Manufacture of Sterile Products until 20 July 2020. This step is justified by the challenges arising in connection with COVID-19.


The Co-ordination Group for Mutual Recognition and Decentralised Procedures - Human (CMDh) of the EMA has published a Q&A for the practical handling of processes for mutual recognition of authorisations during the COVID 19 crisis. 


In order to address the current exceptional circumstances, the UK regulatory authority MHRA has opted for a temporary flexibility on good manufacturing practice (GMP). The authority considers these steps necessary to meet the current  supply needs of medicines in the UK. In this context, the GDP requirements for wholesalers have already been relaxed and the discretionary scope for QPs has also been extended.


On 17 April 2020, the European Parliament voted by 693 to one votes and with two abstentions to delay the entry into force of the EU Medical Device Regulation (MDR) by one year - to 26 May 2021. 


How is Switzerland adapting to the EU regarding the implementation of MDR, IVDR and ICH Q12?


The European Commission, the EMA and the European Medicines Regulatory Network have developed a 7-page Q&A to guide pharmaceutical companies in making flexible adjustments to the regulatory framework during the COVID 19 pandemic. The EMA has established a task force for this purpose, to take quick and coordinated regulatory action.


On 8 April 2020, the Medical Device Coordination Group (MDCG) published a five-page guideline on the conduct of audits by Notified Bodies to be applied during the COVID 19 pandemic. 


The ICH Q3C(R8) draft Guideline on Impurities: Guideline for Residual Solvents, has reached Step 2b and now enters the consulation period.

The draft document contains solemly the Permitted Daily Exposure (PDE) levels for

  • 2-Methyltetrahydrofuran (proposed is a PDE of 50 mg/day and a placement in Class 3 solvents)
  • Cyclopentyl Methyl Ether (proposed is a PDE of 15 mg/day and a placement in Class 2 solvents)
  • Tertiary Butyl Alcohol (proposed is a PDE of 35 mg/day and a placement in Class 2 solvents).

The deadline of 26 May 2020 should have been the date: The European Commission's Medical Device Regulation (MDR) was supposed to come into force. Due to the Corona crisis, the European Commission is now submitting a proposal to postpone the implementation deadline.


The European Commission published the 4-page draft version of the new Annex 21: Importation of medicinal products, on 20 March 2020. Apart from the main Chapters and Annexes of the EU GMP Guide, it has become necessary to establish specific guidelines for the activity of importing medicinal products.


The European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced that the deadline for the submission of risk assessments for all human medicines presenting a risk for the presence of nitrosamine impurities or (cross)contaminations will be extended to 1 October 2020. The announcement was made just one day ahead of the original deadline scheduled for 26 March 2020. This will give all companies affected more time to review their manufacturing processes and carry out the required risk assessments.

The reason given for this step is the challenges and impact of the restrictions in place to combat the COVID 19 pandemic.



On March 9, 2020, the European Commission published version 17 of the Q&A on safety features for medicinal products. The document is updated on a regular basis (we reported).


The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has suspended all foreign GMP inspections and QMS (Quality Management System) audits until further notice.


The US FDA had already announced on 10 March 2020 that most foreign inspections would be postponed until April with immediate effect. Now domestic routine surveillance inspections will also be scaled back.


The US FDA announced that it is postponing most foreign inspections through April with immediate effect due to the Coronavirus disease. Inspections outside the US that are considered critical will be reviewed by the FDA on a case-by-case basis.


As the Indian Directorate General of Foreign Trade announced on 3 March 2020, the export of 26 active ingredients and medicinal products will be severely restricted until further notice due to the global spread of the coronavirus.


The ICH Q12 guideline on technical and regulatory considerations for pharmaceutical product lifecycle management was adopted by the CHMP (European Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use) in January 2020. On March 4,  the EMA (European Medicines Agency) published a two page note on the implementation of ICH Q12. It addresses the fact that there are conceptual differences between ICH Q12 and the EU legal framework. Therefore, a 1:1 application in the EU is not possible without further ado.


ICH has published a training presentation on ICH Q12 Guideline on Technical and Regulatory Considerations for Pharmaceutical Product Lifecycle compiled by the Q12 Expert Working Group.


The US FDA, in cooperation with the Indian authorities, has seized 500 shipments of illegal and potentially dangerous unapproved prescription drugs and medical devices. The products were in transit to American consumers by international mail.


A first targeted consultation to the Annex 1 of the EU GMP Guide allowed about 140 companies and organizations to comment. The drafting group processed more than 6200 lines of comments. These have now been taken into account in the preparation of a second draft.


The Dublin-based National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) was designated by the European Commission as the eleventh Notified Body under MDR and thus added to the NANDO database.


The International Council for Harmonisation (ICH) has made the Minutes of the ICH Assembly Meeting in Singapore, in November 2019, publicly available. In contrast to the already published press release (we reported), the meeting minutes include new details on the following interesting projects for the GMP area:


The Norwegian DNV GL Presafe AS (Notified Body 2460) is now a Notified Body for EU Medical Devices Regulation (MDR) 2017/745.


In a press release the EMA informs pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers about the withdrawal of Great Britain from the EU on 31 January 2020. What are the current developments?


As you may have already noticed - on our website or elsewhere - we have a new company logo and also a new name.


This year's list of guidelines to be published by the CDER (Center for Drug Evaluation and Research) comprises 14 categories with a total of 89 documents. 


On 14 January 2020, the EMA published a draft Reflection Paper on the GMP-related obligations of marketing authorisation holders (MAHs). In general, these responsibilities relate to outsourcing and technical agreements. However, they are spread over the different chapters and annexes of the EU GMP Guideline and are also quite numerous. The aim of the reflection paper now is to clarify in a single document what the different responsibilities are and what they mean for MAHs at a practical level. It also addresses the legal provisions in European Directives and other Directives that relate to GMP and also affect marketing authorisation holders.


In December 2019, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) published the revised standard ISO 14971:2019 on application of risk management to medical devices. This standard has now been added to the list of Recognized Consensus Standards by the US FDA.


End of December 2019, the EMA has updated the Q&A document for marketing authorisation holders who are currently reviewing their medicines for the possible presence of nitrosamines and testing products at risk.


In December 2019, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) revised a four-page Q&A document on the EU-US Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) on marketing authorisation applications and variations.

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