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How to do environmental monitoring to an industry standard

Environmental monitoring (EM) data provides assurance that medicines made in an aseptic facility are safe for patients and that supply is not interrupted due to contamination issues. An EM program is a vital part of the quality system in modern drug production facilities and is scrutinized by regulatory agencies. Designing an EM program is a relatively complex task, but is hampered by inadequate guidance and, while there are many different...

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Environmental Monitoring (EM): A harmonized risk-based approach to selecting monitoring points and defining monitoring plans

The purpose of an EM risk assessment (RA) is to provide information to determine how to distribute monitoring to best verify that processes are operating under control. This step-by step guidance covers the EM RA process and provides recommendations on monitoring sites and methods based on the relative probability of contamination industry guidance addresses these needs and attempts to capture best practices in a useable ‘toolkit’ format. The guide incorporates good practices from biopharmaceutical manufacturers and adheres to current regulatory guidelines.

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Has the pandemic ushered in an era of virtual inspections and audits?

Faced with the travel uncertainties caused by the pandemic and a backlog of inspections, remotely conducted health authority inspections and affiliate audits have become a necessity. With appropriate use of technology and after ironing out any initial problems, they could become part of the toolkit of the future.  In response to this growing trend, a BioPhorum project is considering the challenges and opportunities of virtual/remote...

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PUPSIT: identifying risks and preventive controls

Pre-use post-sterilization integrity testing (PUPSIT) continues to generate considerable debate in the industry. Committing to a PUPSIT strategy is no mean feat because, while it is recommended by regulatory bodies, it may compromise downstream sterility and it is expensive to mitigate these risks. To help clarify industry thinking, the Sterile Filtration Quality Risk Management (SFQRM) Consortium is sharing its knowledge and expertise on...

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Alternative and rapid micro methods (ARMM): A framework for the evaluation, validation and implementation of alternative and rapid microbiological testing methods

There are now available to the biopharmaceutical industry several alternative and rapid microbiological methods (ARMMs) for the detection and enumeration of microorganisms during testing. Regulatory authorities are encouraging the biopharmaceutical industry to adopt innovative technologies. Together these methods will lead to improved monitoring and assurance of control of biopharmaceutical processes and manufacturing environments, as well as shortened cycle times in the supply chain. This paper addresses the need for a systematic and best practice approach to the evaluation, validation and deployment of these methods. The absence of such best practice has hindered the adoption of ARMMs, resulting in slow adoption. A nine-step framework and common language is described which can be applied by biopharmaceutical companies wanting to take advantage of the numerous benefits of ARMMs.

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SFQRM: The use of scientific data to assess and control risks associated with sterilizing filtration

This article draws conclusions from the scientific studies, workstreams, and publications delivered by the Sterile Filtration Quality Risk Management (SFQRM) consortium formed between BioPhorum and PDA. It uses those conclusions to provide guidance to industry (sterile drug manufacturers, filter suppliers, and regulators) on the use of quality risk management principles and scientific data to prevent undetected non-integral sterilizing filters.

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Datamining to determine the influence of fluid properties on the integrity test values

Eudralex volume 4, Annex 1, the EU GMP for sterile products, requires that ″The integrity of the sterilised filter should be verified before use · · ·″ (1). Implicit in this requirement for a pre-use, post-sterilization integrity test (PUPSIT) is the rationale that the sterilizing filter could sustain damage during sterilization or use (i.e. subsequent to any pre-use test conducted prior to sterilization), causing a defect which would not be detected by the post-use integrity test. That is, that such a defect could be ″masked″ during filtration.

To assess whether a filter defect could be masked by partial filter plugging the Consortium evaluated the impact of bacterial retention testing on the bubble point (BP) of the test filters.
The paper concludes that filtration processes producing bubble point changes sufficient to present a risk of masking defects are not common, and detectable during the routine BCT. Thus the BP ratios observed during routine bacterial retention testing is one means to assess the potential of a given filtration process for masking of defects and can be considered when determining whether a PUPSIT should be implemented.

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How to solve the CCI puzzle

Container–closure integrity (CCI) is a vital patient-safety and product-efficacy aspect of parenteral biopharmaceuticals. The challenge is how to identify, qualify and maintain the appropriate methods to ensure CCI’s role in providing patient and regulatory confidence in these medicines. To describe an overarching approach to CCI and BioPhorum’s work in this area, Scott Ewan has written an article called A Holistic Approach to Container–Closure...

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