One of the most frequently asked questions that we receive at Affygility Solutions is “Do I need a dedicated facility or equipment for my highly potent active pharmaceutical ingredient?” While this seems like a fairly simply question, the answer is actually quite complex; and, in order to answer this question, someone would need to know a lot more about your specific operation. So, let’s walk through the basic thought process on how we would answer this question.
One of the key concepts when making the determination for a dedicated facility, is the concept of risk assessment, and, the first question we would ask you is “What does your risk assessment process say?” As indicated in the EU Guidelines for Good Manufacturing Practice for Medicinal Products for Human and Veterinary Use - Part 1 Chapter 3: Premises and Equipment and shown in Image 1 below, Quality Risk Management principles must be used in making the determination whether a dedicated facility is required.
As you may know, one of the key concepts to understanding risk is expressed by the following equation:
Risk = Hazard X Probability of Occurrence
Hazard is equal to the hazard or severity of the compound itself, and that hazard is based solely on the toxicology of the specific molecule. The hazard does not change with increase in scale, its physical form, or the energy in the process. Assessing the hazard of a specific compound requires a toxicological evaluation by an expert toxicologist in order to determine the acceptable daily exposure (a.k.a permitted daily exposure) of the specific compound. Additionally, terms such as highly potent, cytotoxic, or similar terms lack regulatory definition and should be avoided when expressing the degree of hazard.
Probability of occurrence is based on the likelihood of either occupational exposure or cross-product contamination occurring. The factors involved in the probability of occurrence include the scale of the process, the physical form of the product or formulation, the percentage of the API in the formulation, the existing controls and procedures that are in place, and many others.
So, the key part in making the the determination whether a dedicated facility or equipment is required is answering the question whether your risks are being managed to an acceptable level or not. A good framework for developing and implementing a quality risk management program can be found in the International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineers’ Risk Based Manufacture of Pharmaceutical Products Baseline Guide.
The key questions that your risk assessment should answer will include:
As you can see from the above discussion, making the determination whether a dedicated facility is required or not involves much more than just having an occupational exposure limit or an acceptable daily exposure value. It involves having a thorough understanding of your risks and how you manage them.
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