Avalanche or Roadblock: FDA Publishes Flurries of Biologic and Biosimilar Materials

The proposed technical correction regulation, the other two guidance documents, and the list deal with the transition of certain biological products from NDAs to BLAs.  Starting with the simplest, the proposed (so-called) technical correction would amend the definition of “biological product” in 21 C.F.R. § 600.3(h) to conform to the definition implemented in the BPCIA and provide an interpretation of the statutory terms “protein” and “chemically synthesized polypeptide.”  FDA calls it a “technical correction” in the proposed rule, but this isn’t really technical, nor is it a correction.  Indeed, it reflects a significant change to the definition of biological product because the rule would replace the phrase  “means any” with the phrase “means a” and would add the phrase “protein (except any chemically synthesized polypeptide)” to the definition of “biological product.”  Consistent with the April 2015 Questions & Answers guidance, the proposed rule would amend 21 C.F.R. § 600.3(h) to further define protein as any alpha amino acid polymer with a specific defined sequence that is greater than 40 amino acids in size, and the term chemically synthesized polypeptide as any alpha amino acid polymer that: (1) is made entirely by chemical synthesis and (2) is greater than 40 amino acids but less than 100 amino acids in size.  Given that that FDA has been using this definition since the publication of the April 2015 final version of this Question and Answer guidance,  this proposed regulation is unlikely to catch industry by surprise.  But this is just one of multiple steps FDA is taking to prepare industry for the March 2020 transition of certain biological products approved under NDAs to BLAs.
— Read on www.fdalawblog.net/2019/01/avalanche-or-roadblock-fda-publishes-flurries-of-biologic-and-biosimilar-materials/

Data Integrity and the Role of Guidances

Interesting piece over at FDALawBlog on the new data integrity guidance “New Data Integrity Guidance Imposes Significant Burdens, Yet FDA Claims It Does Not Regulate by Guidance.”

I find it interesting to read a different perspective. I tend to be a big fan of guidances (they always need work) as they help lay down how we can get better and improve. Being on the front line of regulatory inspections probably more than a group of lawyers, I recognize the differences in how guidances are treated differently than regulations, and how the agencies apply very long lead times on how inspections treat this material. And frankly, the 483s and Warning Letters we are seeing coming out of data integrity scare the beejeezus out of me. There is also a need for the FDA to ensure it’s thinking on matters is aligned with our European and rest-of-world counterparts, especially in this day of mutual recognition agreements.

Regulatory and administrative law is definitely continually evolving. It is important to be aware of a variety of perspectives  on the subject.

FDA publishes Q&A on Data Integrity

Did someone declare December Data Integrity month when I wasn’t looking? Though recent FDA announcements really mean that every month is data integrity month.

In the spirit of giving  the US published on 13Dec2017  “Data Integrity and Compliance with Drug CGMP: Questions and Answers.” This guidance updates a draft version released in 2016 and has been revised to include additional information on the agency’s current thinking on best practices and covers the design, operation and monitoring of systems and controls to maintain data integrity.

When things go seriously bad

An owner and four former employees of a now-shuttered Framingham compounding pharmacy were convicted Thursday of federal charges related to a 2012 meningitis outbreak that’s killed more than 100 people who took tainted drugs made at the facility, authorities said.

Travis Anderson “5 people convicted of federal charges in Framingham compounding pharmacy case” Boston Globe (2018)

To say that the crimes of the  New England Compounding Center have changed the very regulations for compounding pharmacy in this country is no overstatement. For those of us in other  regulated industries, and for those in quality in other fields, this is an important case to reflect on.

According to prosecutors, pharmacists “knowingly made and sold numerous drugs” in an unsafe manner. “The unsafe manner included, among other things, the pharmacists’ failure to properly sterilize NECC’s drugs, failure to properly test NECC’s drugs for sterility, and failure to wait for test results before sending the drugs to customers. They also approved the use of expired drug ingredients, and the mislabeling of those drugs in order to deceive customers.”

Travis Anderson “5 people convicted of federal charges in Framingham compounding pharmacy case” Boston Globe (2018)

It is important to reflect that we in Quality, that everyone in our industries, has a commitment to the health and well-being of our customers that is nothing less than a moral imperative. That the imperative question for us and our organizations is always “Have I done enough to ensure the best quality and safety.”

There have now been 11 employees or executives of the drug compounding company convicted of ignoring safety precautions and forging documents to allow contaminated drugs to be manufactured and shipped.

Shira Schoenberg “Former compounding center employees convicted in deadly meningitis outbreak ” Boston Business Journal (2018)