The objective of this article is to discuss the similarities and differences among bioequivalence approaches used by international regulatory authorities when reviewing applications for marketing new generic drug products which are systemically active and intended for oral administration. We focused on the 13 jurisdictions and organizations participating in the International Generic Drug Regulators Pilot. These are Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, the European Medicines Association, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, the USA, and the World Health Organization. We began with a comparison of how the various jurisdictions and organizations define a generic product and its corresponding reference product. We then compared the following bioequivalence approaches: recommended bioequivalence study designs, method of pharmacokinetic calculations and bioequivalence acceptance limits, recommendations for modifying bioequivalence study designs and limits for highly variable drugs and narrow therapeutic index drugs, provisions for waiving bioequivalence study requirements (granting biowaivers), and implementation of the Biopharmaceutics Classification System. We observed that, overall, there are more similarities than differences in bioequivalence approaches among the regulatory authorities surveyed.
bioequivalence; biopharmaceutics classification system; biowaivers; generic drugs; regulatory authority
“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
This summary workshop report highlights presentations and over-arching themes from an October 2011 workshop. Discussions focused on best practices in the application of biopharmaceutics in oral drug product development and evolving bioequivalence approaches. Best practices leverage biopharmaceutic data and other drug, formulation, and patient/disease data to identify drug development challenges in yielding a successfully performing product. Quality by design and product developability paradigms were discussed. Development tools include early development strategies to identify critical absorption factors and oral absorption modeling. An ongoing theme was the desire to comprehensively and systematically assess risk of product failure via the quality target product profile and root cause and risk analysis. However, a parallel need is reduced timelines and fewer resources. Several presentations discussed applying Biopharmaceutics Classification System (BCS) and in vitro–in vivo correlations in development and in post-development and discussed both resource savings and best scientific practices. The workshop also focused on evolving bioequivalence approaches, with emphasis on highly variable products (HVDP), as well as specialized modified-release products. In USA, two bioequivalence approaches for HVDP are the reference-scaled average bioequivalence approach and the two-stage group-sequential design. An adaptive sequential design approach is also acceptable in Canada. In European Union, two approaches for HVDP are a two-stage design and an approach to widen Cmax acceptance limits. For some specialized modified-release products, FDA now requests partial area under the curve. Rationale and limitations of such metrics were discussed (e.g., zolpidem and methylphenidate). A common theme was the benefit of the scientific and regulatory community developing, validating, and harmonizing newer bioequivalence methodologies (e.g., BCS-based waivers and HVDP trial designs).
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
To implement Quality by Design (QbD) in drug development, scientists need tools that link drug products properties to in vivo performance. Physiologically based absorption models are potentially useful tools; yet, their utility of QbD implementation has not been discussed or explored much in the literature. We simulated pharmacokinetics (PK) of carbamazepine (CBZ) after administration of four oral formulations, immediate-release (IR) suspension, IR tablet, extended-release (XR) tablet and capsule, under fasted and fed conditions and presented a general diagram of a modeling and simulation strategy integrated with pharmaceutical development. We obtained PK parameters and absorption scale factors (ASFs) by deconvolution of the PK data for IR suspension under fasted condition. The model was validated for other PK profiles of IR formulations and used to predict PK for XR formulations. We explored three key areas where a modeling and simulation approach impacts QbD. First, the model was used to help identify optimal in vitro dissolution conditions for XR formulations. Second, identification of critical formulations variables was illustrated by a parameter sensitivity analysis of mean particle radius for the IR tablet that showed a PK shift with decreased particle radius, Cmax was increased and Tmax was decreased. Finally, virtual trial simulations allowed incorporation of inter-subject variability in the model. Virtual bioequivalence studies performed for two test formulations suggested that an in vitro dissolution test may be a more sensitive discriminative method than in vivo PK studies. In summary, a well-validated predictive model is a potentially useful tool for QbD implementation in drug development.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1208/s12248-010-9250-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
advanced compartmental absorption and transit (ACAT) model; gastroplus™; modified release (MR); quality by design (QbD)
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
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