Risk management methods and tools in the pharmaceutical and life sciences industries

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Understanding and implementing risk management methods and tools is crucial for the pharmaceutical and life sciences industries in view of the fact that errors in this area can lead to dangers for human life. Since any mistake in any chain of in this industry can lead to serious consequences; the FDA and other regulatory agencies have created a number of risk management methods and tools for these industries.

A few commonly used risk management methodsIn the pharmaceutical and life sciences area, a few commonly used risk management methods and tools for organizing data and using these to help in decision-making include the following:

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A few popular risk management methods and toolsIn the field of pharmaceuticals and life sciences, these can be said to be some of the more popularly used risk management methods and tools:

Failure Mode Effects Analysis (FMEA)FMEA is a popular one among the risk management methods and tools mainly because it provides a methodology for assessing a potential failure mode for the process that goes into the manufacturing of the pharma or life sciences product and helps to analyze their possible impact on the product’s ability to perform to its required standard.

risk-in-pharmaceutical-and-life-sciences-industriesIdentification and establishment of failure modes are taken as the basis for using risk reduction techniques for eliminating, containing, reducing or controlling the possible failures. Since FMEA depends on a deep understanding of the product and the process; its main steps include dissembling complex processes into simpler and comprehensible ones. For this reason, FMEA is considered a potent risk management method and tool.

Failure, Mode, Effects, and Criticality Analysis (FMECA)Extending the concept of FMEA a little farther, the Failure, Mode, Effects, and Criticality Analysis (FMECA) takes into account the added feature of the extent of gravity of the consequences of a fault or failure, along with the possibility of their occurrence, as well as the chance of their detection. While this is the slight extension that the FMECA brings to FMEA; it is similar to it in other respects, namely:

risk-in-pharmaceutical-and-life-sciences-industriesFMECA too, like FMEA, uses identification and establishment of the process specification to identify risks and failures

FMECA too uses the method of breaking down difficult processes to easier ones to enable better understanding of the failures and risks.

Fault Tree Analysis (FTA)Fault Tree Analysis is another of the risk management methods and tools. What this tool does is that it takes up a single fault at a time for analysis, but links the chains that cause the fault. This is why it gets its name, wherein the results of the analysis are represented in a shape of a tree, in which each level of fault is described with possibilities. A sharp and incisive analytical bent of mind is required to create the FTA.

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP)HACCP is yet another important one among the risk management methods and tools. It takes a systematic and proactive approach in ensuring the following in a product:

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It is considered a comprehensive risk management method and tool because it addresses all the issues relating to risk management methods and tools, applying scientific principles and methods for carrying out the following:

risk-in-pharmaceutical-and-life-sciences-industriesControlling of the risk or the negative outcomes of hazard, which could be due to any of these:

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Supporting statistical tools
risk-in-pharmaceutical-and-life-sciences-industriesWhile all the risk management methods and tools described above are a snapshot of some of the major ones, a few supporting statistical tools, too, are used to engender quality risk management. These are some of them:

 

 

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What is logistics and supply chain management?

Logistics and supply chain management (SCM) constitute a very important element of businesses. Getting the logistics and supply chain management aspects right is necessary for the smooth flow of products from their source to destination, during the course of which many activities need to be performed.

Logistics and supply chain management is emerging as a major area of business because of the evolution and growth of globalization. Many products and goods are produced in one country and consumed in another situated thousands of miles away. The right logistics and supply chain management helps to deliver the goods and products to the right person, at the right time, at the right place and in the right condition. Lack of proper logistics and supply chain management is a recipe for disaster.

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What is logistics and supply chain management?

 

Among the lay people, there is a tendency to use the two words synonymously and interchangeably. In trade, however, there are major differences between the two. Logistics is just a part of the supply chain. In simple, general and broad terms, one can understand the difference between logistics and supply chain in the following ways:

Logistics is a part of supply chain, meaning that it is a set of activities that are carried out within an organization. Supply chain, on the other hand, is the full set of activities that are carried out from start to finish, i.e., from the time it departs the organization that it is leaving till the time it reaches its logical destination. In this process, supply chain management involves the coordination and collaboration of many entities. In this sense, supply chain is a whole set of activities, of which logistics is only a part.

Another way of understanding logistics and supply chain management 

logistic-and-supply-chain-managementAnother way of understanding logistics and supply chain management is this:

Logistics can be understood as being a discipline in which the following activities are involved:

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On the other hand, supply chain management can be said to include more extended activities, which include:

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Logistics and its extended activitiesLogistics often is described in terms of inbound and outbound logistics. Simply put, inbound logistics is the movement of raw materials and goods that are bought by and transported into a company. When these are processed and finished and shipped to customers; they become part of outbound logistics.

Logistics and supply chain management in a broader contextWhen one tries to get an understanding of logistics and supply chain management at a higher or broader level in the way logistics has been described above; supply chain management can be understood as consisting of these elements:

logistic-and-supply-chain-managementA sound supply chain system seeks to create value for the organization by building and utilizing logistics infrastructure. Logistics and supply chain management become meaningful when the organization synergizes demand with supply, stock and supply and inventory management

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200+ followers. WOWWWWWW…

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Hello Everyone,

Today we have the pleasure of celebrating the fact that we have reached the milestone of 200+ followers on WordPress. Since we started this blog, we have had such a great time connecting with everyone.  we never expected to actually to connect with other people in the blogging community.

we are so incredibly thankful for each and every one of you who follows and comments on my blog posts. Please know that!

we would continue our blogging in these areas FDA Regulation, Medical Devices, Drugs and Biologics, Healthcare Compliance, Biotechnology, Clinical Research, Laboratory Compliance, Quality Management ,HIPAA Compliance ,OSHA Compliance, Risk Management, Trade and Logistics Compliance ,Banking and Financial Services, Auditing/Accounting & Tax, Packaging and Labeling, SOX Compliance, Environmental Compliance, Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet, Geology and Mining, Human Resources Compliance, Food Safety Compliance and etc.

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The FDA Export Reform and Enhancement Act of 1996 – a brief understanding

The FDA Export Reform and Enhancement Act of 1996 - a brief understanding 3

The FDA Export Reform and Enhancement Act of 1996 is a landmark Act passed by the American Congress. A landmark legislation in that it instilled and reinforced the concept of free global trade; the FDA Export Reform and Enhancement Act of 1996 removed the need for American pharma companies to obtain FDA approvals for the products that they export to select markets. Following the passage of the FDA Export Reform and Enhancement Act, American companies need to only get approval of the respective countries regulatory authorities.

One of the highlights of the FDA Export Reform and Enhancement Act of 1996 is that it was one of the very few Acts that were put into effect almost immediately after being passed into law. This perhaps reflected the immediacy of the benefit the Act wanted to bestow on American companies.

The overriding highlight of this legislation is that it almost totally obviated the need for FDA approval for products that were being exported to a few select countries. American pharmaceutical companies saw this as a great concession that they got to export their products, as it completely helped them bypass the tedious FDA approval process.

The FDA Export Reform and Enhancement Act of 1996 allowed the following categories of non-FDA regulated products to be exported to any country of the world:

The Listed Countries

 

The FDA Export Reform and Enhancement Act of 1996 - a brief understanding 1Subject to marketing approval by the respective regulatory bodies of the 25 developed nations; American companies can market their products to what the FDA Export Reform and Enhancement Act of 1996 considers “Listed Countries”:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • South Africa
  • Switzerland, and
  • The European Economic Area

Requirements of the FDA Export Reform and Enhancement Act of 1996The FDA Export Reform and Enhancement Act of 1996 prescribes vastly liberalized general requirements which pharma companies need to adhere to in order to be able to export non-FDA approved medical products to the Listed Countries. The following core components have been greatly relaxed or exempted for export approval:

Requirement from receiving countriesFinally, the FDA Export Reform and Enhancement Act of 1996, upon the insistence of the Listed Countries, ruled that manufacturers who wanted to benefit from this legislation had to obtain clearance from the FDA that there were no regulatory or legal actions pending on these companies.

 

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Digital Marketing for Pharmaceutical companies offers tremendous opportunities

There is enormous potential for digital marketing for pharmaceutical companies. Proper exploitation of the social media can take pharmaceutical companies to their market in a more pinpointed and accurate manner than traditional marketing.

Gone are the initial days of reluctance on the part of pharmaceutical companies to embrace social media as a powerful marketing medium. That was in the past, when the concept of social media was new, and regulations in the pharmaceutical industry had yet to catch up with explosive pace at which the social media grew.

More and more pharmaceutical companies are on the social media

Today, one is likely to see any pharmaceutical company worth its name being active on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to interact with its customers. Changes brought about by digital marketing in the pharmaceutical industry have seen companies like Johnson and Johnson and Pfizer being among the several majors associated with YouTube lately for creating and promoting their image. This is a result of the realization that social media can, far from being unconducive to the industry, can be quite amiable to it.

  • In a study in late 2014, the New England Journal of Medicine estimated that leading pharmaceutical companies spend up to a quarter of their marketing budgets on the social media
  • The study pointed out that the social media were as powerful and effective as EHRs and mobile applications as marketing tools, signaling a new dynamic for digital marketing in the pharmaceutical industry.

Social media as a key differentiator

The defining area in which the social media can be different and more effective than traditional marketing tactics for pharmaceutical companies is this: earlier methods such as trade conferences, promotions, gifting doctors for prescribing a company’s brands were effective, but were carried out outside the healthcare setting and in isolation of the patient. The reach and intervention of the social media has made digital marketing for pharmaceutical companies so much more effective that they can get right into the arena of treatment and be of assistance with valuable inputs and suggestions.

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Design Control for Medical Devices

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Design Control for medical devices is of utmost importance to the medical device industry. In order to get a grasp of its importance, one needs to get an understanding of what Design Control is. In simple terms, Design Control for medical devices is a set of logical and linear steps that medical device manufacturers have to take to ensure that:

  1. The medical device being manufactured is safe
  2. The medical device manufacturer follows all the steps and procedures for ensuring that the device it develops is what was meant to be developed
  3. Design controls for medical devices have to be put in place to ensure that the final product – the medical device – meets all the required and prescribed regulatory procedures and guidelines and meets the customer’s expectation

In short and simple terms, design controls for medical devices are verifiable and provable assurances that medical device manufacturers have taken adequate steps to guarantee that a medical device meets its set of required standards and procedures to ensure its safety and meet customer requirements.

FDA and ISO expectations of design controls for medical devicesBoth the FDA and the ISO have regulatory requirements from medical devices that expect some Design Control standards. The FDA’s requirements for design controls for medical devices are spelt out in FDA 21 CFR 820.30, while ISO 13485 is the standard for design controls for medical devices. Although formed by different regulatory or standards bodies; both the FDA 21 CFR 820.30 and the ISO 13485 are essentially similar. Their purview of the areas of design controls for medical devices is almost identically similar to each other. Sections of the FDA 21 CFR 820.30 and the ISO 13485 speak of requirements relating to the following in their various sections:

In just one area of design controls for medical devices, namely Design History File, there is a small difference, in that while the FDA’s regulatory requirements for design controls for medical devices include DHF; in the case of the ISO 13485, this is treated separately.

There is thus near total convergence between the FDA 21 CFR 820.30 and the ISO 13485 when it comes to design controls for medical devices.

Basic requirements of FDA 21 CFR 820.30 and ISO 13485Both the FDA 21 CFR 820.30 and the ISO 13485 have expectations for design controls for medical devices. These are the core areas:

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Aspects of Regulatory History in the US

The beginnings of all that the USFDA regulates can be traced right to the early decades of the founding of the nation. In a sense, the FDA, even if came to be called by that formal name much later; embodies the discipline and value set that the new created nation sought to represent. Regulation of all aspects of American life was deeply ingrained very early in the nation’s history, and the FDA was one of prime institutions that played a part in making this happen.

How has the FDA evolved and shaped up over the years? What are the important milestones of this history? This makes interesting reading, because the USFDA has had the kind of history whose colorfulness is matched by few other regulatory agencies around the world.

aspectsOfRegulatoryHistoryAn indication of the extent to which the FDA attaches importance to ensuring the wellbeing of the American people can be gauged from the fact that the food and other products that this agency regulates account for a fifth of the total money that the nation’s consumers spend. Just its budget – well over four billion in 2014 – is a good indicator to the way in which the FDA has spread its influence in the various spheres of American life. It regulates almost all food items with the exception of meat and poultry.

This situation has not been reached accidentally or overnight. The FDA has by and large kept pace with the developments in the areas it regulates. This was largely true till the advent of very recent technology-led areas such as biotechnology and the social media, where too, the FDA has been trying to put its best foot forward.

The start of formal regulation 
aspectsOfRegulatoryHistoryA look at the history of the FDA points to the year 1848 as the start of the first formal aspects of regulatory history. That was the year in which Lewis Caleb Beck took his appointment with the Patent Office. His mandate was to chemically analyze agricultural products. This is considered as the first task that was aimed at regulating a product that people consumed. This function rolled over to the Department of Agriculture, which was created in 1862.

The Act of 1906The next step in solidifying the regulatory aspects of life in the US was taken in 1906, with the promulgation of the Pure Food and Drugs Act in 1906. Stretching to some two decades of wrangling between the American Congress and the food industry to formulate, the Act of 1906 sought to prohibit adulterated and misbranded food and drugs from interstate commerce.

The 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic ActThe next major milestone in the aspects of regulatory history in the US took place in 1938. The 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act prescribed and detailed the legal requirements for products the FDA – which this Act created – regulated. In this Act, one can trace the earliest tidings of a major activity that the FDA has been carrying out since then: Prescribing the requirements for ensuring quality by prohibiting false claims by manufacturers and advertisers.

aspectsOfRegulatoryHistoryPresident Franklin D. Roosevelt signing the 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

Over time, the 1938 Act expanded to include more areas such as cosmetics, devices and veterinary medicines, thus strengthening the foundation for regulation and making it more expansive. Since the passage of the 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act; two major events happened on the regulatory scene. The outbreak of tetanus and diphtheria diseases in the 1960’s compelled the FDA to take a more proactive approach to vaccinations.

Another major, earthshaking event was the tragedy that thalidomide unleashed on Europe in the 1960’s, which stunted the growth of hundreds of children, which was mainly due to regulatory lapse. This did not happen in the US, mainly because of the efforts and diligence shown by Frances Kelsey, in her role as FDA reviewer. Frances plainly refused to approve thalidomide because she was not convinced about its safety, an act which made her a cult figure in FDA and American and Canadian medicinal history till her death in 2015.

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Aspects of regulatory history in the US in the 1990’sFollowing the 1960’s, the next major milestone in the aspects of regulatory history in the US happened in 1990, when the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act was passed. This law was important because it changed the American perspective of labeling of products in the food and pharmaceutical industries. The Nutrition Labeling and Education Act requires manufacturers to provide nutritional information about products on their labels, with the caveat that false labeling information will lead to consequences.

 

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