Review of Quality Deficiencies Found in Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient Master Files Submitted to the WHO Prequalification of Medicines Programme

Isabel Ortega Diego1, Antony Fake1, Matthias Stahl1, Lembit Rägo2

1Prequalification Team- Medicines, World Health Organization
2Regulation of Medicines and other Health Technologies Unit, World Health Organization


Purpose. The aim of this work was to determine the number and type of active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) quality deficiencies in API Master Files (APIMFs) as submitted to the World Health Organization (WHO) Prequalification of Medicines Programme (PQP). Methods. We conducted a retrospective review of API quality deficiencies identified following the assessment of new APIMFs for non-sterile APIs during a 6-year period from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2012. All deficiencies were collected, classified and quantified according to the Common Technical Document (CTD) sections and subsections and as groups of commonly raised questions. Results. There were 5446 deficiencies collected from 159 APIMF deficiency letters by CTD section, by selected CTD subsections and by selected CTD subsections and year. More than 50% of the total number of deficiencies related to the manufacturing sections of the CTD, followed by deficiencies concerning the impurities, the API specification and the stability sections of the CTD.  A pattern of API deficiencies across the different CTD subsections and over time was identified. Conclusions. The most frequent critical deficiencies were related to how the specific manufacturing process and the key materials used, in particular the API starting material, impact the API impurities content. The number and pattern of APIMF deficiencies did not change over time. The results are compared to the findings in similar studies as reported by the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA), the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines (EDQM) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and similarities and differences are discussed. Our findings highlight the need for greater guidance and technical assistance for API manufacturers submitting APIMFs to the PQP.


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J Pharm Pharm Sci, 17 (2): 169-186, 2014

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