The GxPs – a brief definition

Jargon is something we should work hard to avoid, and yet there is an awful lot of it we find difficult to let go. Right at the top is the GxPs.

GxP is a general abbreviation for the “good practice” quality guidelines and regulations. The “x” stands for the various fields, including the pharmaceutical and food industries, for example good manufacutiring practice, or GMP.

There are a lot of GxPs, though we tend to focus on 5(ish), depending on where you are.

We tend to argue a lot about them. Even to the GxP vs GXP. Or GPvP vs GVP. Or GdocP or GDP (so damn confusing, there is another GDP – Good Distribution Practices). Or if Good Storage Practice is its own body or part of the GMPs and GDPs. And…and…and.. The arguing can be fun.

The Five big ones in pharma and medical devices are GLP, GCP, GMP, GDP and GPvP. Some of the others like GACP are pretty intesting in their application.

Some like GDocP and GAMP are more specific threads that go across the GxPs.

By nature the GxPs are tied to the phase of the pharmaceutical pipeline.

The GxPs are all about ensuring compliance and are informed from a wide range of sources, starting with law and regulations.

Being in the age of globalization, there are many many sources to draw from.

This can also draw from beyond the health authorities (for example in the US USDA for GACP or the DEA for parts of the GDPs).

At the end of the day, GxPs answer to five important criteria.


In the current world scenario, which is marked by high volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA), threats are increasingly unforeseen. As organizations, we are striving for this concept of Resilience.

Resilience is one of those hot words, and like many hot business terms it can mean a few different things depending on who is using it, and that can lead to confusion. I tend to see the following uses, which are similar in theme.

Where usedMeaning
PhysicsThe property of a material to absorb energy when deformed and not fracture nor break; in other words, the material’s elasticity.
EcologyThe capacity of an ecosystem to absorb and respond to disturbances without permanent damage to the relationships between species.
PsychologyAn individual’s coping mechanisms and strategies.
Organizational and Management studiesThe ability to maintain an acceptable level of service in the face of periodic or catastrophic systemic and singular faults and disruptions (e.g. natural disasters, cyber or terrorist attacks, supply chain disturbances).

For our purposes, resilience can be viewed as the ability of an organization to maintain quality over time, in the face of faults and disruptions. Given we live in a time of disruption, resilience is obviously of great interest to us.

In my post “Principles behind a good system” I lay out eight principles for good system development. Resilience is not a principle, it is an outcome. It is through applying our principles we gain resilience. However, like any outcome we need to design for it deliberately.

We gain resilience in the organization through levers that can be lumped together as operational and organizational.

The attributes that give resilience are the same that we build as part of our quality culture:

On the operational side, we have processes to drive risk management, business continuity, and issue management. A set of activities that we engage in.

Like many activities they key is to think of these as holistic endeavors proactively building resiliency into the organizaiton.