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1.  AAPS–FIP Summary Workshop Report: Pharmacogenetics in Individualized Medicine: Methods, Regulatory, and Clinical Applications 
The AAPS Journal  2009;11(2):214-216.
The workshop “Pharmacogenetics in Individualized Medicine: Methods, Regulatory, and Clinical Applications” was held November 15–16, 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. This workshop provided an opportunity for pharmaceutical scientists, clinical practitioners, clinical laboratory scientists, and FDA to discuss methods, regulatory, and the application of pharmacogenetics in clinical practice and drug discovery. Key highlights of the workshop were: (a) the use of genetic information in individualized medicine has significant potential in advancing drug development and human health by optimizing drug response, drug efficacy, and preventing adverse drug reactions; (b) various barriers exist preventing the advance of the individualized medicine in the society, industry, and clinical practice; and (c) the barriers may be overcome by integrated approaches; the education of researchers, clinical practitioners, and patients and fostering interactive communication among stakeholders. By targeting the AAPS audience, this workshop was one step among many steps that AAPS–FIP is intending to take towards removing the barriers to widespread uptake of pharmacogenetics in drug discovery and clinical practice.
doi:10.1208/s12248-009-9097-0
PMCID: PMC2691457  PMID: 19319689
clinical pharmacology; drug discovery; drug metabolism; individualized medicine; pharmacogenetics; pharmacogenomics
2.  Implications of ICH-E5: Assessment of drug's sensitivity to ethnic factors and necessity of a bridging study for global drug development 
The ICH-E5 guideline provides a general framework for evaluating the potential impact of ethnic factors on the acceptability of foreign clinical data, with the underlying objective of minimizing duplication of clinical data, and it also describes the requirement of bridging studies for extrapolation of foreign clinical data to a new region. The ICH-E5 guideline brought great change in concept and strategy of global drug development for pharmaceutical companies. The procedures described in the ICH-E5 guideline have proved useful in the assessment of the ethnic sensitivity of a medicinal product that is to be introduced to a foreign region for registration purpose. Many companies are now developing various products based on ICH-E5 strategies and many successful cases will continuously appear within coming years.
doi:10.4103/2229-3485.86874
PMCID: PMC3227328  PMID: 22145121
Bridging study; ethnic factors; global drug development; ICH-E5
3.  Harmonization of Regulatory Approaches for Evaluating Therapeutic Equivalence and Interchangeability of Multisource Drug Products: Workshop Summary Report 
The AAPS Journal  2011;13(4):556-564.
Regulatory approaches for evaluating therapeutic equivalence of multisource (or generic) drug products vary among different countries and/or regions. Harmonization of these approaches may decrease the number of in vivo bioequivalence studies and avoid unnecessary drug exposure to humans. Global harmonization for regulatory requirements may be promoted by a better understanding of factors underlying product performance and expectations from different regulatory authorities. This workshop provided an opportunity for pharmaceutical scientists from academia, industry and regulatory agencies to have open discussions on current regulatory issues and industry practices, facilitating harmonization of regulatory approaches for establishing therapeutic equivalence and interchangeability of multisource drug products.
doi:10.1208/s12248-011-9294-5
PMCID: PMC3231855  PMID: 21845486
bioequivalence; harmonization; interchangeability; regulatory standards; therapeutic equivalence
4.  Recent trends in the impurity profile of pharmaceuticals 
Various regulatory authorities such as the International Conference on Harmonization (ICH), the United States Food and Drug administration (FDA), and the Canadian Drug and Health Agency (CDHA) are emphasizing on the purity requirements and the identification of impurities in Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs). The various sources of impurity in pharmaceutical products are — reagents, heavy metals, ligands, catalysts, other materials like filter aids, charcoal, and the like, degraded end products obtained during \ after manufacturing of bulk drugs from hydrolysis, photolytic cleavage, oxidative degradation, decarboxylation, enantiomeric impurity, and so on. The different pharmacopoeias such as the British Pharmacopoeia, United State Pharmacopoeia, and Indian Pharmacopoeia are slowly incorporating limits to allowable levels of impurities present in APIs or formulations. Various methods are used to isolate and characterize impurities in pharmaceuticals, such as, capillary electrophoresis, electron paramagnetic resonance, gas–liquid chromatography, gravimetric analysis, high performance liquid chromatography, solid-phase extraction methods, liquid–liquid extraction method, Ultraviolet Spectrometry, infrared spectroscopy, supercritical fluid extraction column chromatography, mass spectrometry, Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, and RAMAN spectroscopy. Among all hyphenated techniques, the most exploited techniques for impurity profiling of drugs are Liquid Chromatography (LC)-Mass Spectroscopy (MS), LC-NMR, LC-NMR-MS, GC-MS, and LC-MS. This reveals the need and scope of impurity profiling of drugs in pharmaceutical research.
doi:10.4103/0110-5558.72422
PMCID: PMC3255420  PMID: 22247862
Characterization; chromatography; identification; impurities; NMR; mass spectrometry
5.  Validation of analytical methods in GMP: the disposable Fast Read 102® device, an alternative practical approach for cell counting 
Background
The quality and safety of advanced therapy products must be maintained throughout their production and quality control cycle to ensure their final use in patients. We validated the cell count method according to the International Conference on Harmonization of Technical Requirements for Registration of Pharmaceuticals for Human Use and European Pharmacopoeia, considering the tests’ accuracy, precision, repeatability, linearity and range.
Methods
As the cell count is a potency test, we checked accuracy, precision, and linearity, according to ICH Q2. Briefly our experimental approach was first to evaluate the accuracy of Fast Read 102® compared to the Bürker chamber. Once the accuracy of the alternative method was demonstrated, we checked the precision and linearity test only using Fast Read 102®. The data were statistically analyzed by average, standard deviation and coefficient of variation percentages inter and intra operator.
Results
All the tests performed met the established acceptance criteria of a coefficient of variation of less than ten percent. For the cell count, the precision reached by each operator had a coefficient of variation of less than ten percent (total cells) and under five percent (viable cells). The best range of dilution, to obtain a slope line value very similar to 1, was between 1:8 and 1:128.
Conclusions
Our data demonstrated that the Fast Read 102® count method is accurate, precise and ensures the linearity of the results obtained in a range of cell dilution. Under our standard method procedures, this assay may thus be considered a good quality control method for the cell count as a batch release quality control test. Moreover, the Fast Read 102® chamber is a plastic, disposable device that allows a number of samples to be counted in the same chamber. Last but not least, it overcomes the problem of chamber washing after use and so allows a cell count in a clean environment such as that in a Cell Factory. In a good manufacturing practice setting the disposable cell counting devices will allow a single use of the count chamber they can then be thrown away, thus avoiding the waste disposal of vital dye (e.g. Trypan Blue) or lysing solution (e.g. Tuerk solution).
doi:10.1186/1479-5876-10-112
PMCID: PMC3502295  PMID: 22650233
Cell count; Cell factory; Cell therapy; Validation methods; GMP
6.  Recent Trends on the Future of Graduate Education in the Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research 
Harmonization of pharmacy education has to be made a global agenda that will encompass the developments that have taken place in basic, medical, pharmaceutical sciences in serving the needs and expectations of the society. The professional pharmacy curriculum is designed to produce pharmacists who have the abilities and skills to provide drug information, education, and pharmaceutical care to patients; manage the pharmacy and its medication distribution and control systems; and promote public health. Required coursework for all pharmacy students includes pharmaceutical chemistry; pharmaceutics (drug dosage forms, delivery, and disposition in the human body) pharmacology; therapeutics (the clinical use of drugs and dietary supplements in patients); drug information and analysis; pharmacy administration (including pharmacy law, bioethics, health systems, pharmacoeconomics, medical informatics); clinical skills (physical assessment, patient counseling, drug therapy monitoring for appropriate selection, dose, effect, interactions, use); and clinical pharmacy practice in pharmacies, industry, health maintenance organizations, hospital wards, and ambulatory care clinics.
doi:10.4103/0975-1483.63173
PMCID: PMC3021699  PMID: 21264127
Education; pharmacy curriculum; research
7.  FIP Position Paper on Qualification of Paddle and Basket Dissolution Apparatus 
AAPS PharmSciTech  2009;10(3):924-927.
The qualification process for ensuring that a paddle or basket apparatus is suitable for its intended use is a highly debated and controversial topic. Different instrument qualification and suitability methods have been proposed by the pharmacopeias and regulatory bodies. In an effort to internationally harmonize dissolution apparatus suitability requirements, the International Pharmaceutical Federation's (FIP) Dissolution/Drug Release Special Interest Group (SIG) reviewed current instrument suitability requirements listed in the US, European, and Japanese pharmacopeias and the International Conference on Harmonization (ICH) Topic Q4B on harmonization of pharmacopoeial methods, in its Annex 7, Dissolution Test General. In addition, the SIG reviewed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Draft Guidance for Industry, “The Use of Mechanical Calibration of Dissolution Apparatus 1 and 2—Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP)” and the related ASTM Standard E2503-07. Based on this review and several in-depth discussions, the FIP Dissolution/Drug Release SIG recommends that the qualification of a dissolution test instrument should be performed following the calibration requirements as indicated in the FDA (draft) guidance. If additional system performance information is desired, a performance verification test using US Pharmacopeia Reference Standard tablet or an established in-house reference product can be conducted. Any strict requirement on the use of a specific performance verification test tablet is not recommended at this time.
doi:10.1208/s12249-009-9291-5
PMCID: PMC2802143  PMID: 19609681
basket apparatus; chemical qualification; dissolution; mechanical qualification; paddle apparatus; performance verification test
8.  Adverse events in total knee arthroplasty: Results of a physician independent survey in 260 patients 
Purpose
Identification of all common and potentially avoidable adverse events is crucial to further improve the quality of medical care. The intention of the current study was to evaluate a standardized physician independent survey format on adverse events in total knee arthroplasty. The protocol for reporting adverse drug events following the International Conference of Harmonisation of technical requirements for registration of pharmaceuticals for human use (ICH) was adopted for adverse events occurring during surgical interventions.
Material and methods
Data of a prospective sequential cohort trial introducing a clinical pathway for total knee arthroplasty was analysed. Reporting of adverse events was done by a physician independent study nurse using the modified ICH-Good Clinical Practice (GCP) format (Structure and Content of Clinical study reports - E3) in 260 patients. The adverse events were graded to their severity and their potential relation to surgical treatment.
Results
A total of 55 patients (21%) suffered from an adverse event and 16 (6%) from a serious adverse event. In 38 patients' one adverse event occurred, 12 patients showed 2 adverse events and 5 patients suffered from a combination of an adverse and a serious adverse event. A serious adverse event alone occurred in 11 patients. The incidence of adverse events (Fisher p = 0.448) and serious adverse (p = 0.126) events showed no significant difference between the two cohorts. The most common adverse events were deep vein thrombosis (8% and 5%) followed by wound healing problems (1% and 0%) and haematoma (1% and 3%). A wide range of non surgical adverse events were recorded with low incidence levels.
Conclusion
The use of the modified ICH-GCP format supports standardization of adverse event reporting. Routine assessment of adverse events by a study nurse revealed higher incidence rates of adverse events in total knee arthroplasty. We recommend the implementation of trained paramedical staff for the documentation of adverse events in routine clinical care.
doi:10.1186/1754-9493-4-12
PMCID: PMC2928185  PMID: 20699004
9.  American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists National Biotechnology Conference Short Course: Translational Challenges in Developing Antibody-Drug Conjugates 
mAbs  2013;5(1):5-12.
The American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) National Biotechnology Conference Short Course “Translational Challenges in Developing Antibody-Drug Conjugates (ADCs),” held May 24, 2012 in San Diego, CA, was organized by members of the Pharmacokinetics, Pharmacodynamics and Drug Metabolism section of AAPS. Representatives from the pharmaceutical industry, regulatory authorities, and academia in the US and Europe attended this short course to discuss the translational challenges in ADC development and the importance of characterizing these molecules early in development to achieve therapeutic utility in patients. Other areas of discussion included selection of target antigens; characterization of absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion; assay development and hot topics like regulatory perspectives and the role of pharmacometrics in ADC development. MUC16-targeted ADCs were discussed to illustrate challenges in preclinical development; experiences with trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1; Genentech) and the recently approved brentuximab vedotin (Adcetris®; Seattle Genetics) were presented in depth to demonstrate considerations in clinical development. The views expressed in this report are those of the participants and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliations.
doi:10.4161/mabs.22909
PMCID: PMC3564886  PMID: 23255090
ADC; pharmacokinetics; linker; trastuzumab emtansine; brentuximab vedotin
10.  Photostability and toxicity of finasteride, diclofenac and naproxen under simulating sunlight exposure: evaluation of the toxicity trend and of the packaging photoprotection 
Background
Drugs photostability plays two different opposite roles; a real advantage arises considering the longer expiration time of the drugs while the consequent persistence in the environment involves an obvious negative effect bound to their harmfulness.
On this basis we tested the photostability and toxicity of three pharmaceutical active principles: Finasteride, Diclofenac and Naproxen. The pure active principles, as well as commercial drugs containing them, were considered; for the last, the protective effect of the packaging was also evaluated. Samples were irradiated according to the ICH Guidelines for photostability testing (The International Conference on Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Registration of Pharmaceuticals for Human Use); a simulating sunlight source (a mercury-vapor lamp coupled to a tungsten filament one) was used to cover the wavelength range 300–2000 nm; Temperature, Relative Humidity, Irradiance and Illuminance were maintained constant during the photodegradation. The concentrations of the pharmaceutical active principles during the photodegradation were monitored by HPLC with UV/Vis detector. Toxicity tests were performed by means of an amperometric biosensor based on suspended yeast cells. Since the products obtained by the photodegradation process can result as toxic or more toxic than the original molecules, tests were performed first and after the photodegadation.
Results
After 90 hours of exposure the concentration resulted lowered by 42.9%, 88.4% and 91% for Finasteride, Naproxen and Diclofenac respectively. Toxicity of the pure active principles follows the same order of the photostability. After photodegradation a contribute of the reaction products was evidenced.
Conclusions
The simple and cheap analytical procedure here proposed, allowed to obtain not only data on photostability and toxicity of the pure active principles but, even if roughly, also useful information on the reactions kinetic and toxicity of the photodegradation products.
doi:10.1186/1752-153X-7-181
PMCID: PMC3881013  PMID: 24325844
Photostability; Toxicity; Packaging; Finasteride; Diclofenac; Naproxen
11.  Registration of Medical Devices 
Globally the medical device (MD) market has been growing quite rapidly over the past decade. The regulatory framework for pharmaceuticals and devices differ substantially. The regulatory authorities in different regions of the world recognize different classes of medical devices (MDs), based on their design complexity, their use characteristics, and their potential for harm, if misused. With the vast majority of MDs in developing countries being imported, the respective governments need to put in place policies & regulations to address all elements related to MDs, ranging from its development, manufacturing, registration to post-marketing obligations & disposal so that public can have access to high quality, safe & affordable products for appropriate use. This article highlights current regulations pertaining to registration of MDs in India, in light of those existing in Global Harmonization Task Force (GHTF) member countries & Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries.
PMCID: PMC3146078  PMID: 21814626
Medical device; Regulations; Registration
12.  Impact of regulatory requirements on medicine registration in African countries – perceptions and experiences of pharmaceutical companies in South Africa 
Southern Med Review  2012;5(1):31-37.
Objective: Access to medicines has long been and remains a challenge in African countries. The impact of medicines registration policies in these countries poses a challenge for pharmaceutical companies wanting to register medicines in these countries. The recent AMRHI (African Medicines Registration Harmonisation Initiative) has increased the focus on the need for harmonisation. Medicines registration regulations differ across African countries. Anecdotal evidence, based on the experience of pharmaceutical companies on progress towards harmonisation is somewhat different, i.e. that country specific requirements were a barrier to the registration of medicines. The objective of this study was therefore to determine the nature and extent of regulatory hurdles experienced by pharmaceutical companies who wish to register and supply medicines to African countries.
Methods: This cross-sectional descriptive pilot study was conducted across pharmaceutical companies, both local and multinational. These companies were based in South Africa and were also members of Pharmaceutical Industry Association of South Africa (PIASA). The pharmaceutical companies supply both the private and public sectors. An online survey was developed using Survey Monkey. Survey questions focused on the following strands: nature and level of current supply of medicines to African countries by companies, general regulatory requirements, region specific questions and country specific questions across four regional economic communities in Africa, namely; Southern African Development Community (SADC), East African Community (EAC), Economic Community of the West African States (ECOWAS) and Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).
Results: A total of 33 responses were received to the questionnaire of which 26 respondents were from the PIASA Regulatory working group and 7 were from the PIASA Export working group.It was noted that since most of the regulatory authorities in Africa are resource-constrained, harmonisation of medicine registration policies will contribute positively to ensuring the safety, quality and efficacy of medicines. The experience of pharmaceutical companies indicated that country specific regulatory requirements are a barrier to registering and supplying medicines to African countries. In particular, GMP inspections, GMP inspection fees and country specific labeling were cited as key problems.
Conclusion: Pharmaceutical companies operating in African markets are experiencing difficulties in complying with the technical requirements of individual African countries. Further research is required to provide a balanced perspective on the country specific regulatory requirements vs. the African Regulatory Harmonisation Initiative (AMRHI).
PMCID: PMC3471191  PMID: 23093897
medicine registration; labeling; pharmaceutical policy; Good Manufacturing Practice
13.  The Views of Healthcare Professionals, Drug Developers and Regulators on Information about Older People Needed for Rational Drug Prescription 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e72060.
Background
The ICH E7 guideline intends to improve the knowledge about medicines in geriatric patients. As a legislative document, it might not reflect the needs of healthcare professionals. This study investigated what information healthcare professionals, regulatory agencies and pharmaceutical industries consider necessary for rational drug prescribing to older individuals.
Methods and Findings
A 29-item-questionnaire was composed, considering the representation in trials, pharmacokinetics, efficacy, safety, and convenience of use in older individuals, with space for additions. Forty-three European professionals with an interest in medication for older individuals were included. In order to investigate their relevance, five items were included in a second questionnaire, with 11 control items. Median scores, differences between clinical and non-clinical respondents and response consistency were analysed. Consistency was present in 10 control items. Therefore, all items of the first questionnaire and the five additional items were analysed. Thirty-seven (86%) respondents returned the first questionnaire; 31/37 (84%) the second. Information about age-related differences in adverse events, locomotor effects, drug-disease interactions, dosing instructions, and information about the proportion of included 65+ patients was considered necessary by most respondents. Clinicians considered information significantly more important than the non-clinical respondents about the inclusion of 75+, time-until-benefit in older people, anticholinergic effects, drug-disease interactions, and convenience of use. Main study limitations are the focus on information for daily practice, while the ICH E7 guideline is a legislative document focused on market approval of a new medicine. Also, a questionnaire with a Likert scale has its limitations; this was addressed by providing space for comments.
Conclusions
This study reveals that items considered necessary are currently not included in the ICH E7 guideline. Also, clinicians’ and non-clinicians’ opinions differed significantly in 15% of the items. Therefore, all stakeholders should collaborate to improve the availability of information for the rational prescribing to older individuals.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0072060
PMCID: PMC3745417  PMID: 23977208
14.  The future of monitoring in clinical research – a holistic approach: Linking risk-based monitoring with quality management principles 
GMS German Medical Science  2013;11:Doc04.
Since several years risk-based monitoring is the new “magic bullet” for improvement in clinical research. Lots of authors in clinical research ranging from industry and academia to authorities are keen on demonstrating better monitoring-efficiency by reducing monitoring visits, monitoring time on site, monitoring costs and so on, always arguing with the use of risk-based monitoring principles. Mostly forgotten is the fact, that the use of risk-based monitoring is only adequate if all mandatory prerequisites at site and for the monitor and the sponsor are fulfilled.
Based on the relevant chapter in ICH GCP (International Conference on Harmonisation of technical requirements for registration of pharmaceuticals for human use – Good Clinical Practice) this publication takes a holistic approach by identifying and describing the requirements for future monitoring and the use of risk-based monitoring. As the authors are operational managers as well as QA (Quality Assurance) experts, both aspects are represented to come up with efficient and qualitative ways of future monitoring according to ICH GCP.
doi:10.3205/000172
PMCID: PMC3563312  PMID: 23382708
monitoring; risk-based monitoring; quality management
15.  The Small GTPase Rap1 Is a Novel Regulator of RPE Cell Barrier Function 
Rap1 GTPase is an important regulator of RPE cell junctions, required for maintenance of barrier function.
Purpose.
To determine whether the small GTPase Rap1 regulates the formation and maintenance of the retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cell junctional barrier.
Methods.
An in vitro model was used to study RPE barrier properties. To dissect the role of Rap1, two techniques were used to inhibit Rap1 function: overexpression of RapGAP, which acts as a negative regulator of endogenous Rap1 activity, and treatment with engineered, adenovirally-transduced microRNAs to knockdown Rap1 protein expression. Transepithelial electrical resistance (TER) and real-time cellular analysis (RTCA) of impedance were used as readouts for barrier properties. Immunofluorescence microscopy was used to visualize localization of cadherins under steady state conditions and also during junctional reassembly after calcium switch. Finally, choroidal endothelial cell (CEC) migration across RPE monolayers was quantified under conditions of Rap1 inhibition in RPE.
Results.
Knockdown of Rap1 or inhibition of its activity in RPE reduces TER and electrical impedance of the RPE monolayers. The loss of barrier function is also reflected by the mislocalization of cadherins and formation of gaps within the monolayer. TER measurement and immunofluorescent staining of cadherins after a calcium switch indicate that junctional reassembly kinetics are also impaired. Furthermore, CEC transmigration is significantly higher in Rap1-knockdown RPE monolayers compared with control.
Conclusions.
Rap1 GTPase is an important regulator of RPE cell junctions, and is required for maintenance of barrier function. This observation that RPE monolayers lacking Rap1 allow greater transmigration of CECs suggests a possible role for potentiating choroidal neovascularization during the pathology of neovascular age-related macular degeneration.
doi:10.1167/iovs.11-7295
PMCID: PMC3183976  PMID: 21873678
16.  Bioprocessing of plant-derived virus-like particles of Norwalk virus capsid protein under current Good Manufacture Practice regulations 
Plant Cell Reports  2011;31(3):573-584.
Despite the success in expressing a variety of subunit vaccine proteins in plants and the recent stride in improving vaccine accumulation levels by transient expression systems, there is still no plant-derived vaccine that has been licensed for human use. The lack of commercial success of plant-made vaccines lies in several technical and regulatory barriers that remain to be overcome. These challenges include the lack of scalable downstream processing procedures, the uncertainty of regulatory compliance of production processes, and the lack of demonstration of plant-derived products that meet the required standards of regulatory agencies in identity, purity, potency and safety. In this study, we addressed these remaining challenges and successfully demonstrate the ability of using plants to produce a pharmaceutical grade Norwalk virus (NV) vaccine under current Good Manufacture Practice (cGMP) guidelines at multiple gram scales. Our results demonstrate that an efficient and scalable extraction and purification scheme can established for processing virus-like particles (VLP) of NV capsid protein (NVCP). We successfully operated the upstream and downstream NVCP production processes under cGMP regulations. Furthermore, plant-derived NVCP VLP demonstrates the identity, purity, potency and safety that meet the preset release specifications. This material is being tested in a Phase I human clinical trial. This research provides the first report of producing a plant-derived vaccine at scale under cGMP regulations in an academic setting and an important step for plant-produced vaccines to become a commercial reality.
doi:10.1007/s00299-011-1196-6
PMCID: PMC3278561  PMID: 22134876
bioprocessing; cGMP; large-scale; plant-derived vaccines; purification; VLP
17.  Next generation and biosimilar monoclonal antibodies 
mAbs  2011;3(3):223-240.
The Next Generation and Biosimilar Monoclonal Antibodies: Essential Considerations Towards Regulatory Acceptance in Europe workshop, organized by the European Centre of Regulatory Affairs Freiburg (EUCRAF), was held February 3–4, 2011 in Freiburg, Germany. The workshop attracted over 100 attendees from 15 countries, including regulators from 11 agencies, who interacted over the course of two days. The speakers presented their authoritative views on monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) as attractive targets for development, the experience to date with the regulatory process for biosimilar medicinal products, the European Medicines Agency draft guideline on biosimilar mAbs, as well as key elements in the development of mAbs. Participants engaged in many lively discussions, and much speculation on the nature of the quality, non-clinical and clinical requirements for authorization of biosimilar mAbs.
doi:10.4161/mabs.3.3.15475
PMCID: PMC3149703  PMID: 21487235
biosimilar; monoclonal antibody; European Medicines Agency; medicinal product regulation
18.  Registration of Clinical Trials: Is it Really Needed? 
Background and Aims:
Withholding findings of clinical trials for publication or presentation to the regulatory authorities is a major concern. We aimed to address the importance of clinical trial registration and whether it is needed or not.
Discussion:
For ethical conduct of clinical trial, registration is an important but debatable issue due to proprietary interest of the pharmaceutical industry. Over the years, investigating agencies uncovered several instances of misconduct during the clinical trial. The International committee of medical journal editors requires registration of trial methodology, but does not require registration of trial results; however, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Amendments does require researchers to register results.
Conclusion:
Prospective registration of clinical trial is mandatory for more transparent research and sustaining the validity of evidence based practice and availability of reliable data. Clinical trials registration has the potential to contribute substantially to improve clinical trial transparency and reducing publication bias and selective reporting.
doi:10.4103/1947-2714.123266
PMCID: PMC3877534  PMID: 24404555
Clinical trials; Ethics; Healthcare; Registration; Research
19.  Potential to Enhance the Prescribing of Generic Drugs in Patients with Mental Health Problems in Austria; Implications for the Future 
Background: Scrutiny over pharmaceutical expenditure is increasing leading to multiple reforms. This includes Austria with measures to lower generic prices and enhance their utilization. However the situation for newer antidepressants and atypical antipsychotic medicines (AAPs) is different to PPIs, statins, and renin-angiotensin inhibitor drugs with greater tailoring of therapy and no wish to switch products in stable patients. Authorities welcome generics though given the high costs particularly of single-sourced AAPs. Objective: Assess (a) changes in utilization of venlafaxine versus other newer antidepressants before and after availability of generics, (b) utilization of generic versus originator venlafaxine, (c) price reductions of venlafaxine over time and their influence on total expenditure, (d) utilization of risperidone versus other AAPs, (e) suggest potential additional reforms that could be introduced if pertinent to further enhance the use of generics. Methodology: A quasi-experimental study design with a segmented time series and an observational study. Utilization measured in defined daily doses (DDDs) and total expenditure per DDD and over time. Results: No appreciable changes in the utilization of venlafaxine and risperidone after generics. The reduction in expenditure/DDD for venlafaxine decreased overall expenditure on newer antidepressants by 5% by the end of the study versus just before generics despite a 37% increase in utilization. Expenditure will further decrease if reduced prescribing of duloxetine. Conclusion: Depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar diseases are complex diseases. As a result, specific measures are needed to encourage the prescribing of generic risperidone and venlafaxine when multiple choices are appropriate. Authorities cannot rely on a “Hawthorne” effect between classes to enhance the use of generics. Measures may include prescribing restrictions for duloxetine. No specific measures planned for AAPs with more multiple-sourced AAPs becoming available.
doi:10.3389/fphar.2012.00198
PMCID: PMC3538280  PMID: 23308071
Austria; antidepressants; atypical antipsychotics; drug utilization studies; generics; risperidone; reforms; schizophrenia
20.  Application of microbiological assay to determine pharmaceutical equivalence of generic intravenous antibiotics 
Background
Demonstration of equivalent amounts of the same active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) between generic and innovator products (pharmaceutical equivalence) is a basic requirement of regulatory agencies for intravenous generic drugs prior to clinical use, and constitutes the pivotal point to assume therapeutic equivalence. Physicochemical methods are preferred instead of biological assays to determine concentration of drugs in biological fluids, but it does not permit direct quantification of potency. Here, we report a microbiological assay using large plates designed to determine potency and concentration of pharmaceutical-grade antibiotics for injection and a statistical method to assess the in vitro equivalence of generic products with respect to the innovator.
Methods
The assay is based on the concentration-dependent variation of the inhibitory effect of antibiotics on reference bacteria (B. subtilis ATCC 6633, S. aureus ATCC 6538p and S. epidermidis ATCC 12228) in a seeded agar (Difco™ Antibiotic Media), producing a concentration-response linear relationship with two parameters: y-intercept (concentration) and slope (potency). We compared the parameters of 22 generic products (amikacin 4, gentamicin 15, and vancomycin 3 products) against the innovator and the reference powder by Overall Test for Coincidence of the Regression Lines (Graphpad Prism 5.0).
Results
The validation method yielded excellent results for linearity (r2 ≥ 0.98), precision (intra-assay variation ≤ 11%; inter-assay variation ≤ 10%), accuracy, and specificity tests according to international pharmacopoeial requirements. Except for one generic of vancomycin that had 25% more API (Py-intercept = 0.001), the pharmaceutical equivalence was demonstrated in 21 generics with undistinguishable slopes and intercepts (P > 0.66). Potency estimates were 99.8 to 100.5, 99.7 to 100.2 and 98.5 to 99.9% for generic products of amikacin, gentamicin and vancomycin, respectively.
Conclusion
The proposed method allows rapid, cost-saving, precise, and accurate determination of pharmaceutical equivalence of drugs in pharmaceutical dosage-form, and may be used as a technique for testing generic antibiotics prior to their approval for human use.
doi:10.1186/1472-6904-9-1
PMCID: PMC2640365  PMID: 19149891
21.  Transparency in Nigeria's public pharmaceutical sector: perceptions from policy makers 
Background
Pharmaceuticals are an integral component of health care systems worldwide, thus, regulatory weaknesses in governance of the pharmaceutical system negatively impact health outcomes especially in developing countries [1]. Nigeria is one of a number of countries whose pharmaceutical system has been impacted by corruption and has struggled to curtail the production and trafficking of substandard drugs. In 2001, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) underwent an organizational restructuring resulting in reforms to reduce counterfeit drugs and better regulate pharmaceuticals [2]. Despite these changes, there is still room for improvement. This study assessed the perceived level of transparency and potential vulnerability to corruption that exists in four essential areas of Nigeria's pharmaceutical sector: registration, procurement, inspection (divided into inspection of ports and of establishments), and distribution.
Methods
Standardized questionnaires were adapted from the World Health Organization assessment tool and used in semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders in the public and private pharmaceutical system. The responses to the questions were tallied and converted to scores on a numerical scale where lower scores suggested greater vulnerability to corruption and higher scores suggested lower vulnerability.
Results
The overall score for Nigeria's pharmaceutical system was 7.4 out of 10, indicating a system that is marginally vulnerable to corruption. The weakest links were the areas of drug registration and inspection of ports. Analysis of the qualitative results revealed that the perceived level of corruption did not always match the qualitative evidence.
Conclusion
Despite the many reported reforms instituted by NAFDAC, the study findings suggest that facets of the pharmaceutical system in Nigeria remain fairly vulnerable to corruption. The most glaring deficiency seems to be the absence of conflict of interest guidelines which, if present and consistently administered, limit the promulgation of corrupt practices. Other major contributing factors are the inconsistency in documentation of procedures, lack of public availability of such documentation, and inadequacies in monitoring and evaluation. What is most critical from this study is the identification of areas that still remain permeable to corruption and, perhaps, where more appropriate checks and balances are needed from the Nigerian government and the international community.
doi:10.1186/1744-8603-5-14
PMCID: PMC2775729  PMID: 19874613
22.  FDA relations during drug development 
Working closely and cooperatively with regulatory authorities during drug development is vital to successful drug development programs. In the United States, the drug development team includes not only members of the key disciplines of drug discovery, clinical research, regulatory affairs, marketing, chemistry, toxicology, and legal aspects, but also the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). New regulations encourage meetings at the pre-investigational new drug (pre-IND), end-of-phase-2, and pre-new drug application (pre-NDA) submission phases. Appropriate informal discussions via fax and telephone are also encouraged. By proactively interacting with the FDA, the pharmaceutical industry increases the probability of a successful drug development program.
PMCID: PMC3181610  PMID: 22034136
FDA; drug development; regulatory affairs; pharmaceutical development
23.  2007 highlights of advances in the pharmaceutical sciences: An American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) perspective 
The AAPS Journal  2007;9(2):E219-E226.
The American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) covers the full range of areas of expertise associated with the resolution of concerns pertaining to drugs and drug products. This editorial highlights the initiatives, issues, and challenges that are the forefront of the pharmaceutical sciences in 2007. It also provides an overview of how these difficult questions are being addressed through the programs and events associated with the AAPS 2007 Annual Meeting that will be held at the San Diego, California, Convention Center from November 11 to 15, 2007.
doi:10.1208/aapsj0902024
PMCID: PMC2751411
dose predictions; product design; product quality control; population kinetics; dose individualization; regulatory sciences; pharmacostatistics; process analytical technology; medical imagining; quantitative pharmacology; dissolution; biotechnology
24.  GCP inspections in Germany and Europe following the implementation of the Directive 2001/20/EC 
Background: The implementation of the Clinical Trials Directive 2001/20/EC and the Good Clinical Practice Directive 2005/28/EC fundamentally restructured and harmonized the conduct of clinical trials in Europe. GCP inspections – which affect study sites, laboratories, sponsors and contract research organizations (CRO) alike – make up an important part of these regulations. A common understanding of how these regulations apply in daily life is however not always ensured.
Methods: A working group of the Clinical Research/Quality Assurance subcommittee of the German Association of Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (VFA) was established to outline the regulatory requirements, the experience gathered with inspections by means of a survey and to set up guidance on how to manage an inspection.
Results and conclusions: The survey, conducted with the help of 15 pharmaceutical companies within the VFA, included a total of 224 inspections (74 inspections in Germany, 150 from other European countries). Most frequent findings in and outside Germany were related to “documentation” (40.5% vs. 21.3%), “investigational new drugs” (16.2% vs. 14.7%), “drug safety” (13.5% vs. 8%) and “application for a clinical trial authorization” (5.4% vs. 12%).
From a German perspective, key findings of this working group were the necessity for a clear differentiation of responsibilities between national and federal as well as international authorities, a harmonization of inspection procedures and topics, and a clarification of whether pre-study/on-study and pre-approval/post-approval GCP inspections of the federal higher authority are included in the “Zentralstelle der Länder für Gesundheitsschutz bei Arzneimitteln und Medizinprodukten” (ZLG) requirements. The survey illustrated, that inspections usually are conducted at the investigational site, and that most of the findings are well known and thus could be prevented by communicating and discussing audit results more intensely within study groups. Again, the survey illustrated, that a harmonization of inspections appears warranted. Finally a code of practice is provided that considers these findings and delivers a basis for a successful inspection whether at the sponsor or the GCP site.
doi:10.3205/000060
PMCID: PMC2716552  PMID: 19675741
GCP inspection; Implementation Directive 2001/20/EC; frequency; survey; sponsor inspection; code of practice
25.  FIP/AAPS Joint Workshop Report: Dissolution/In Vitro Release Testing of Novel/Special Dosage Forms 
AAPS PharmSciTech  2011;12(2):782-794.
In 2003, the FIP Dissolution Working group published a position paper on dissolution/drug release testing for special/novel dosage forms that represented the scientific opinions of many experts in the field at that time (1). The position paper has supported activities, programs, and decisions in the scientific, technical, and regulatory community. Due to the rapid evolution of new practices and techniques for in vitro testing, the FIP Special Interest Group (SIG) on Dissolution/Drug Release decided to revise the previous paper and added proposals for further harmonization of in vitro release testing practices for different pharmaceutical dosage forms. This article represents the current updates to the previously published paper. This revision has been aligned to coincide with the USP taxonomy including route of administration, intended site of drug release, and dosage form. The revised paper includes information from current literature, expert discussions, and presentations from recent workshops (2,3). The authors acknowledge and expect further updates to be made as additional progress is made in the relevant areas. Thus, comments and additional contributions are welcome and may be considered for the next revision of the position paper.
doi:10.1208/s12249-011-9634-x
PMCID: PMC3134645  PMID: 21688063
In vitro release testing; dissolution; novel dosage forms; special dosage forms

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