The Ideal Pharmacopeia - Pharmaceutical Technology

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PharmTech Europe

The Ideal Pharmacopeia

Pharmaceutical Technology
Volume 32, Issue 11, pp. 122-125

The ideal pharmacopeia

Today, drug products are subject to significant control by manufacturers and regulators worldwide to ensure safety, efficacy, and quality. But even taking into consideration the quality control achieved through modern manufacturing capabilities, and the expertise and diligence of regulatory agencies, there is still an important role for pharmacopeias in today's marketplace. The concept of an ideal pharmacopeia, therefore, must address the content, purpose, role, and applicability of pharmacopeial standards in the current environment. The ideal pharmacopeia sets a benchmark and establishes the direction and effort necessary to achieve its goals.

The following fundamental principles are proposed:

The ideal pharmacopeia would provide appropriate standardization to facilitate drug registration and support regulatory agencies through a single, global compendial standard.

The various components of this statement are described below.

Provide appropriate standardization. A discussion of "appropriate standardization" necessarily focuses on the specific content of the ideal pharmacopeia. Many aspects of quality standards for pharmaceutical ingredients and dosage forms should be applied to all manufacturers, and other aspects may be unique to a particular manufacturer, location, or process. Pharmacopeial requirements should not be based on a particular manufacturer's process capability but should instead reflect science and risk-based, technical standards for ensuring that the needs of the patient are met in terms of the identity, strength, quality, and purity of drugs.

An ideal pharmacopeia would provide appropriate standardization through specific monographs for pharmaceutical ingredients, general monographs for dosage forms, and appropriate General Chapters and test methods. Specific monographs for excipients and drug substances provide benefit through a consistent quality standard that is applicable to the same ingredient from various manufacturers. Pharmacopeial monographs include a list of tests, references to analytical procedures, and appropriate acceptance criteria as minimum requirements to ensure the pharmaceutical ingredients are acceptable for their intended use. General monographs on dosage forms (as provided in Ph. Eur.) and general rules for preparations (as published in JP) also provide benefit through appropriate, but not necessarily comprehensive, quality standards that are applicable to all drug products of the type defined (e.g., tablets, capsules, or parenteral preparations). Similarly, General Chapters provide value through standardized test methods and procedures that may be applied to a large number of pharmaceutical ingredients and dosage forms.

Properties and quality attributes of pharmaceutical ingredients and drug products that are unique to a particular manufacturer or dosage form such as those that may arise from different synthetic or manufacturing processes or particular excipients used are more appropriately provided to regulatory agencies through product registrations, rather than through public standards in the pharmacopeia. Specific tests, methods, and acceptance criteria for these unique characteristics of ingredients and products are appropriately evaluated by regulatory agencies to ensure quality, safety, and efficacy. In particular, the value of including monographs for specific drug products in the pharmacopeia is not apparent due to the unique aspects of the finished dosage form from various manufacturers. The ideal pharmacopeia should focus on general monographs for dosage forms, rather than on specific monographs for each particular drug product.

In addition, general chapters that are only applicable to a limited number of ingredients or drug products, or which represent technology that is not mature or generally used throughout the industry provide limited usefulness as pharmacopeial standards. Finally, GMPs are addressed by regulatory authorities who can ensure compliance through inspections and enforcement. It is not helpful, and in fact can be counterproductive, for the pharmacopeia to publish independent GMP requirements.


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