Sterilization

In lay terms, sterilization is understood in a number of ways. We have sterilization in economics, in family planning and in many other fields. When it comes to this term as used by the FDA; there is a specific purpose and definition. For the FDA, sterilization process controls are indispensable for validation.

Sterilization is part of inspections

Sterilization is essentially linked to inspectional objectives. The FDA states the following:  “for sterilization processes, the primary device specification is the desired Sterility Assurance Level (SAL). Other specifications may include sterilant residues and endotoxin levels.”

Important processes labs have to comply with

The FDA has a detailed set of processes that laboratories have to comply with. These are some of the more important ones:

  • The laboratory has to confirm that the sterilization process was validated after the validation study was reviewed
  • It has to review and verify the specific procedure or procedures for the said sterilization process, as well as for the methods that were used to control and monitor the process
  • If during the review of the Device History Records (which include process control and monitoring records, acceptance activity records, etc.) it is discovered that the sterilization process falls beyond the organization’s stated threshold for operating or performance parameters, the company has to do these:

–        It has to determine whether anynonconformance was taken care of in the prescribed manner; and

–        Once this is done, it has to review the equipment adjustment, calibration and maintenance

  • If the laboratory has a system in which the sterilization process is software controlled, it has to confirm that the software was validated
  • The company has to ensure that only appropriately qualified and trained personnel have to implement the sterilization process

Reference:

http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/Inspections/InspectionGuides/ucm170829.htm

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