A written report of the outcome of the technical assessment is recommended by one clinical manufacturing representative in
conjunction with the formulator. This report, filed in a retrieval location within the representative's company, provides
colleagues the opportunity to review the contractor's capabilities for this project and future projects. A positive technical
assessment grants the go-ahead for the quality assurance (QA) audit. If the assessment is negative, then the decision may
be to suggest remediation steps or evaluate another contract facility.
The clinical manufacturing representative who performs the technical assessment also should attend the clinical manufactures
at the contract facility. This representative is the contact person who should work firsthand with the contractor in planning,
executing, and following through to manufacturing completion.
If questionable issues arise during the technical assessment, then a request can be made to the sponsor's QA representative
to address these concerns in an audit. The technical assessment and QA audit may be performed simultaneously. Nonetheless,
the purpose of performing the technical assessment before the QA audit is to ensure that the contractor has the capabilities
to perform the manufacture. If the contractor does not meet manufacturing requirements, then there is no reason to pursue
a relationship with the contractor for this project.
The sponsor's QA department arranges with the contractor's QA department to conduct a facility inspection. This CGMP audit
includes but is not limited to an inspection of the building and company operations. This inspection also should include an
audit of the departments with which the product will come in contact such as the warehouse, manufacturing areas, packaging
areas, quality control (QC), and analytical laboratories. In addition, the review of personnel training files, standard operating
procedures (SOPs), equipment validation reports, equipment cleaning validation, and equipment calibration programs are subject
to inspection. Another area of concern is how the contractor maintains the sponsor's confidentiality when other clients are
in the contractor's facility performing audits and observing manufactures (see Table III).
Table III: Quality assurance audit.
At the conclusion of the inspection, the QA auditor conducts an exit meeting with those representatives who participated in
the inspection. The exit meeting summarizes the observations of the auditor during the inspection. Inspections typically last
a day and a half or longer, depending on the size of the facility, level of CGMP compliance at the contractor site, the length
of time it takes for the contractor to retrieve requested information, and the number of departments that are inspected. Observations
should be discussed as they are noted during the audit and agreement reached before the exit meeting. During the exit meeting,
the auditor notes issues that already may have been addressed and corrected. The QA auditor then approves or denies the use
of the facility. If appropriate, the auditor may conditionally approve the facility with stipulations such as:
- Only particular equipment may be used
- Manufacturing operations may only be conducted in a particular manufacturing area
- Additional testing of raw materials may be required
- Special requests may be made regarding the operations (e.g., a representative from the sponsor's company must be on-site during
As a follow-up, the QA auditor issues a written report to the contractor detailing observations that were discussed during
the exit meeting. In turn, the contractor responds to the observations in writing. The contractor's response should include
the corrective action to take place with a timeline for implementation, or the contractor may reply that the current procedure
is acceptable and include a justification for this decision. If the contractor's response is unacceptable and the observation
is deemed critical, then the status of the contractor may change.
Contract facilities are usually very flexible and, within reason, special requests can be handled. After all, the contractor
wants the pharmaceutical company's business and if it is making the request, chances are another client will do the same.
In addition, the QA auditor often identifies the contractor's weaknesses, and it may be to the contractor's advantage to reevaluate