Understand how Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) in pharmaceuticals help to ensure that drug, biotechnology, and biological products meet the quality standards in manufacturing, processes, and packaging to ensure consumer’s safety.
Updated 31 Jan 2023, Published 2 May 2022
GMP, which stands for Good Manufacturing Practices, is a set of rules and standards that govern how pharmaceutical products are made. It includes specifications for ensuring quality, consistency, and safety in the development, manufacturing, and distribution of medicines. GMP was designed to ensure that safe and effective drugs are produced for patients. It also helps ensure that patients get the right drug at the right dose, with the right side effects, and using the right manufacturing process.
GMP regulations are promulgated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the authority of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic (FD&C) Act. It requires manufacturers, processors, and packagers to ensure that their products cause no harm and are effective.
The International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering defined GMP pharmaceuticals as “regulations requiring a quality approach to manufacturing, enabling companies to minimize or eliminate instances of contamination, mixups, and errors. This protects the consumer from purchasing a product that is not effective or even dangerous. Failure of firms to comply with GMP regulations can result in very serious consequences including recall, seizure, fines, and jail time.” To avoid such penalties, manufacturers of drugs and medical devices must be able to meet consistent high-quality standards in their production.
Patients or consumers aren’t able to visibly see the quality of drug products. It is mostly assumed that what they will take in their bodies is safe and effective—trusting what was written on the label or packaging. The patient automatically expects quality. They’ll assume that the drug is developed, manufactured, and packaged in a manner that meets industry quality standards and the requirements of regulations such as the FD&C Act. Therefore, it is the duty of the company handling pharmaceutical products to perform quality assurance and quality control at each stage of the process.
Labels on drug products alone will not give the assurance that consumers and patients expect. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Biological products, like any pharmaceutical product, should be manufactured in accordance with the requirements of a Pharmaceutical Quality System (PQS).”
PQS is a quality management system that is used to direct and oversee the processes of a pharmaceutical company in terms of quality. According to the Regulatory Education for Industry (REdI) provided by the US FDA, the real assurance of quality in pharmaceuticals is a complete PQS that includes the following:
Four Elements of a Pharmaceutical Quality System (PQS)
ICH is the council that brings together “regulatory authorities and pharmaceutical industry to discuss scientific and technical aspects of pharmaceuticals and develop ICH guidelines.” These guidelines are grouped into four: (1) Quality guidelines, (2) Efficacy guidelines, (3) Safety guidelines, and (4) Multidisciplinary guidelines. Q10 guidelines are where ICH focused on PQS and its elements. These elements are:
These four elements of PQS are to be used in ensuring the quality of pharmaceutical products throughout the product life cycle stages.
The second assurance of quality is cGMP. While GMP and cGMP are mostly used interchangeably, the addition of the term “current” to cGMP intends to remind manufacturers that the system and technology they’re using must be up-to-date, aligned to current standards, or compliant with the latest regulations enforced by FDA.
Manufacturers can avoid most of the common quality problems that put patients at risk, like drug contamination and mix-ups, when they follow cGMP regulations. These regulations set the minimum standards for the procedures, facilities, and controls used to make, process, and package a drug.
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FDA is the one who assures the public of a product’s quality and efficacy worldwide. They determine whether or not an organization complies through inspection and evaluation of their product and facilities. FDA does the evaluation through the following:
Quality affects every aspect of the activities of humans. It is an important factor in ensuring the safety and efficacy of drugs and other products for human use. The goal of GMP is to protect the health of patients by ensuring that every medicine they receive meets the highest standards of quality and safety.
Complement your goal of quality with SafetyCulture, the best tool trusted by industries and manufacturers in helping ensure the quality of their products.
SafetyCulture is a digital app that provides a more convenient and more efficient approach to conducting compliance checks, quality checks, and inspections. Comply with GMP pharmaceutical standards through the following features:
Use these related checklists for GMP pharmaceutical:
Loida Bauto is a content contributor for SafetyCulture. An Interior Designer by training, she began to pursue her passion for writing in 2017. Her interests involve a diverse range of topics such as Disability, Universal Design, and Sustainability, among other matters that aim to improve the world we live in. She is a self-published book author in 2018 and 2021.
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