Validation doesn't replace any of the required CGMP activities, it merely confirms their appropriateness. There is no substitute
for sound process design and development, and of course CGMP compliance in all activities. Validation failures are not a consequence
of the validation, but rather of poor designs, inadequate development, or CGMP problems in operations. In essence, validation
only serves to keep score.
The inability to validate a process or product is usually associated with one or more of the following causes:
Inadequate development (poor science)
Poor process control (inferior equipment or poor maintenance)
- Inadequate instructions (poor documents or sloppy development)
- Lack of knowledge (poor science or engineering)
- Poor validation practice (inadequate know-how).
Examples of top-down application
The following examples are drawn from real-life situations where the validation and quality focus was misdirected because
the firm had lost sight of the objectives they were striving for. In each case, end-product quality was placed at risk because
of inappropriate priorities in the validation or control of other processes
Environmental worries trump sterilization.
One firm was experiencing a significant failure rate in its bioreactors (close to 20%), which was greatly reducing its ability
to support product sales. Investigation into the problem revealed that steaming-in-place of the system was being hampered
by faulty steam traps and back pressure in the condensate line. When pressed to allow the traps to discharge into the surrounding
ISO-8 room, the firm's environmental-quality unit objected that the condensate would degrade the environmental conditions
in the room. The ability to sterilize the bioreactors and produce contamination-free products was compromised to protect an
environment without product contact.
Pursuit of sterilization effectiveness risks microbial contamination.
Parts for aseptic compounding and filling were sterilized as individual components to ensure maximum exposure during the
steam-sterilization process. After sterilization, the individual parts were assembled aseptically into the final fluid-handling
system. The risk of contamination during the assembly was ignored in pursuit of better sterilization. The firm relied on media
fills to support the efficacy of this process.
The effect of the top-down approach
The top-down approach focuses the validation on the key quality attributes of the product rather than on less critical concerns.
The products manufactured in this industry are intended to serve the patient, whose needs must be paramount in the development
of any validation effort. Validation began as a means to ensure sterility and protect patient welfare. It is essential that
as the industry maintain a connection between what it is endeavoring to do and whom it is doing it for. The patients deserve
the safest and most efficacious products possible, and the cost to provide them should be realistic as well. Misplaced efforts
that fail to support patient needs are anathema.
The approach described in this article is inherently risk-based because the validation activities that directly affect critical
product-quality attributes are given the greatest emphasis and priority over potentially conflicting, but certainly less important
indirect concerns. Validation efforts must focus on patient needs. Risk-based validation is a significant step in the right
direction. Remember, "If a thousand people do a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing."
James Agalloco is the president of Agalloco and Associates, PO Box 899, Belle Mead, NJ 08502, tel. 908.874.7558, email@example.com
He is also a member of Pharmaceutical Technology's Editorial Advisory Board.
Submitted: Feb. 6, 2008. Accepted: Feb. 12, 2008.
What would you do differently? Email your thoughts about this paper to firstname.lastname@example.org
and we may post them to the site.
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