“For-cause” inspections are initiated during the review of bioequivalence (BE) data submitted to Abbreviated New Drug Applications when possible scientific misconduct and study irregularities are discovered. We investigated the common reasons for initiating “for-cause” inspections related to the clinical, analytical, and dissolution study sites associated with BE studies. This information may help the pharmaceutical industry to understand the root causes of compliance failures in BE studies and help them to improve compliance with FDA’s regulations, thereby facilitating more rapid approval of safe and effective generic drugs.
bioequivalence; FDA; inspection
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; bioequivalence; generic drugs; methylphenidate; pAUC
Highly variable (HV) drugs are defined as those for which within-subject variability (%CV) in bioequivalence (BE) measures is 30% or greater. Because of this high variability, studies designed to show whether generic HV drugs are bioequivalent to their corresponding HV reference drugs may need to enroll large numbers of subjects even when the products have no significant mean differences. To avoid unnecessary human testing, the US Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Generic Drugs developed a reference-scaled average bioequivalence (RSABE) approach, whereby the BE acceptance limits are scaled to the variability of the reference product. For an acceptable RSABE study, an HV generic drug product must meet the scaled BE limit and a point estimate constraint. The approach has been implemented successfully. To date, the RSABE approach has supported four full approvals and one tentative approval of HV generic drug products.
bioequivalence; generic drugs; highly variable drugs; reference-scaled average bioequivalence; US Food and Drug Administration
The Biopharmaceutics Classification system (BCS) classifies drug substances based on aqueous solubility and intestinal permeability. The objective of this study was to use the World Health Organization Model List of Essential Medicines to determine the distribution of BCS Class 1, 2, 3, and 4 drugs in Abbreviated New drug Applications (ANDA) submissions. To categorize solubility and intestinal permeability properties of generic drugs under development, we used a list of 61 drugs which were classified as BCS 1, 2, 3, and 4 drugs with certainty in the World Health Organization Model List of Essential Medicines. Applying this list to evaluation of 263 ANDA approvals of BCS drugs during the period of 2000 to 2011 indicated 110 approvals (41.8%) for Class 1 drugs (based on both biowaiver and in vivo bioequivalence studies), 55 (20.9%) approvals for Class 2 drugs, 98 (37.3%) approvals for Class 3 drugs, and no (0%) approvals for Class 4 drugs. The present data indicated a trend of more ANDA approvals of BCS Class 1 drugs than Class 3 or Class 2 drugs. Antiallergic drugs in Class 1, drugs for pain relief in Class 2 and antidiabetic drugs in Class 3 have received the largest number of approvals during this period.
ANDA; BCS biowaiver; bioequivalence; Biopharmaceutics Classification System; generic drug product
A generic product must meet the standards established by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be approved for marketing in the USA. FDA approves a generic product for marketing if it is proved to be therapeutically equivalent to the reference product. Bioequivalence (BE) between a proposed generic product and its corresponding reference product is one of the major components of therapeutic equivalence. These approvals may be delayed if the BE portion of the submission is determined to be deficient. Many of these BE deficiencies recur commonly and can be avoided.
We conducted a survey of the BE submissions to abbreviated new drug applications (ANDAs) over years 2001 to 2008 to identify the most commonly occurring BE deficiencies.
Recurring deficiencies are found in a majority of the ANDAs reviewed by FDA’s Division of Bioequivalence. The most common deficiencies were the two deficiencies related to dissolution (method and specifications) found in 23.3% of the applications and analytical method validation and/or report found in 16.5% of the applications. The approval of generic drugs would be greatly accelerated if these deficiencies could be avoided.
ANDA; bioequivalence; common deficiency; FDA
In vitro dissolution testing is an important tool used for development and approval of generic dosage forms. The objective of this article is to summarize how dissolution testing is used for the approval of safe and effective generic drug products in the United States (US). Dissolution testing is routinely used for stability and quality control purposes for both oral and non-oral dosage forms. The dissolution method should be developed using an appropriate validated method depending on the dosage form. There are several ways in which dissolution testing plays a pivotal role in regulatory decision-making. It may be used to waive in vivo bioequivalence (BE) study requirements, as BE documentation for Scale Up and Post Approval Changes (SUPAC), and to predict the potential for a modified-release (MR) drug product to dose-dump if co-administered with alcoholic beverages. Thus, in vitro dissolution testing plays a major role in FDA’s efforts to reduce the regulatory burden and unnecessary human studies in generic drug development without sacrificing the quality of the drug products.
bioequivalence; biopharmaceutics; generic drugs; in vitro dissolution; quality by design
Modified release products are complex dosage forms designed to release drug in a controlled manner to achieve desired efficacy and safety. Inappropriate control of drug release from such products may result in reduced efficacy or increased toxicity. This workshop provided an opportunity for pharmaceutical scientists from academia, industry, and regulatory agencies to discuss current industry practices and regulatory expectations for demonstrating pharmaceutical equivalence and bioequivalence of MR products, further facilitating the establishment of regulatory standards for ensuring therapeutic equivalence of these products.
bioequivalence; interchangeability; modified release; pharmaceutical equivalence; therapeutic equivalence
Dry powder inhalers (DPIs) are used to deliver locally acting drugs (e.g., bronchodilators and corticosteroids) for treatment of lung diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Demonstrating bioequivalence (BE) for DPI products is challenging, primarily due to an incomplete understanding of the relevance of drug concentrations in blood or plasma to equivalence in drug delivery to the local site(s) of action. Thus, BE of these drug/device combination products is established based on an aggregate weight of evidence, which utilizes in vitro studies to demonstrate equivalence of in vitro performance, pharmacokinetic or pharmacodynamic studies to demonstrate equivalence of systemic exposure, and pharmacodynamic and clinical endpoint studies to demonstrate equivalence in local action. This review discusses key aspects of in vitro studies in supporting the establishment of BE for generic locally acting DPI products. These aspects include comparability in device resistance and equivalence in in vitro testing for single inhalation (actuation) content and aerodynamic particle size distribution.
bioequivalence (BE); dry powder inhaler (DPI); locally acting drugs; particle size distribution; single inhalation (actuation) content
Various approaches for evaluating the bioequivalence (BE) of highly variable drugs (CV ≥ 30%) have been debated for many years. More recently, the FDA conducted research to evaluate one such approach: scaled average BE. A main objective of this study was to determine the impact of scaled average BE on study power, and compare it to the method commonly applied currently (average BE). Three-sequence, three period, two treatment partially replicated cross-over BE studies were simulated in S-Plus. Average BE criteria, using 80–125% limits on the 90% confidence intervals for Cmax and AUC geometric mean ratios, as well as scaled average BE were applied to the results. The percent of studies passing BE was determined under different conditions. Variables tested included within subject variability, point estimate constraint, and different values for σw0, which is a constant set by the regulatory agency. The simulation results demonstrated higher study power with scaled average BE, compared to average BE, as within subject variability increased. At 60% CV, study power was more than 90% for scaled average BE, compared with about 22% for average BE. A σw0 value of 0.25 appears to work best. The results of this research project suggest that scaled average BE, using a partial replicate design, is a good approach for the evaluation of BE of highly variable drugs.
bioequivalence; highly variable drugs; scaled bioequivalence; simulations
It is widely believed that acceptable bioequivalence studies of drugs with high within-subject pharmacokinetic variability must enroll higher numbers of subjects than studies of drugs with lower variability. We studied the scope of this issue within US generic drug regulatory submissions.
Materials and Methods
We collected data from all in vivo bioequivalence studies reviewed at FDA’s Office of Generic Drugs (OGD) from 2003–2005. We used the ANOVA root mean square error (RMSE) from bioequivalence statistical analyses to estimate within-subject variability. A drug was considered highly variable if its RMSE for Cmax and/or AUC was ≥0.3. To identify factors contributing to high variability, we evaluated drug substance pharmacokinetic characteristics and drug product dissolution performance.
Results and Discussion
In 2003–2005, the OGD reviewed 1,010 acceptable bioequivalence studies of 180 different drugs, of which 31% (57/180) were highly variable. Of these highly variable drugs, 51%, 10%, and 39% were either consistently, borderline, or inconsistently highly variable, respectively. We observed that most of the consistent and borderline highly variable drugs underwent extensive first pass metabolism. Drug product dissolution variability was high for about half of the inconsistently highly variable drugs. We could not identify factors causing variability for the other half. Studies of highly variable drugs generally used more subjects than studies of lower variability drugs.
About 60% of the highly variable drugs we surveyed were highly variable due to drug substance pharmacokinetic characteristics. For about 20% of the highly variable drugs, it appeared that formulation performance contributed to the high variability.
bioequivalence; generic drugs; highly variable drugs; presystemic drug metabolism; variable drug product dissolution
This study was designed to theoretically investigate the influence of drug release properties, characterized by the disintegration of a solid dosage form and dissolution of drug particles, on the systemic exposure of highly soluble drugs in immediate release products. An absorption model was developed by considering disintegration of a solid dosage form, dissolution of drug particles, gastrointestinal transit flow, and intestinal absorption processes. The absorption model was linked to a conventional pharmacokinetic model to evaluate the effect of disintegration and dissolution on the peak exposure (Cmax) and total exposure of area under the curve (AUC). Numerical methods were used to solve the model equations. The simulations show that the effect of disintegration of a dosage form and dissolution of drug particles depend on the permeability of a drug, with a low-permeability drug having a greater effect. To provide similar exposure to an oral solution formulation, a solid dosage form containing a low-permeability drug would need to dissolve more rapidly than a solid dosage form containing a high-permeability drug. It was shown theoretically for poorly permeable drugs that the disintegration rate constant has to be greater than 9 hour−1 (equivalent to approximately 90% in 30 minutes) to make both AUC and Cmax ratios higher than .9, ensuring the confidence interval of .80 to 1.25. The rapid in vitro release requirement of at least 85% dissolved in 30 minutes is sufficient for highly soluble and highly permeable drugs. However, for highly soluble and poorly permeable drugs, the appropriate in vitro release requirement seems to be 90% dissolved in 30 minutes.
Small intestinal transit; dissolution; disintegration; absorption modeling; bioequivalence