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  5. Advancing Product Quality
  1. Pharmaceutical Quality Resources

Advancing Product Quality

CDER is engaged in efforts to encourage drug manufacturing innovations and foster reliable manufacturing of high-quality drugs for U.S. patients and consumers.

Emerging Technology Program

In 2014, CDER’s Office of Pharmaceutical Quality (OPQ) created the Emerging Technology Program (ETP) to enable early engagement between FDA and drug companies seeking to use an advanced manufacturing technology. Under this program, FDA meets early with companies developing technologies that may offer significant improvements to pharmaceutical quality and provides recommendations to help support technology development and implementation and anticipated applications. The Emerging Technology Team has considered a wide range of new technologies such as continuous manufacturing, 3D printingProcess Analytical Technology, distributed manufacturing, and artificial intelligence.

CDER’s Framework for Regulatory Advanced Manufacturing Evaluation (FRAME) Initiative

CDER is preparing a regulatory framework to support the adoption of advanced manufacturing technologies that could bring benefits to patients. Based on engagements through the Emerging Technology Program and elsewhere, the FRAME initiative prioritized four technologies: End-to-End Continuous Manufacturing, Distributed Manufacturing, Point-of-Care Manufacturing, and the use of Artificial Intelligence in manufacturing.

International Collaboration

FDA engages foreign regulatory counterparts to coordinate on ways to advance product quality. For example, we work with the International Council on Harmonisation (ICH) to develop harmonized quality standards and facilitate implementation by industry. FDA is a member of the Pharmaceutical Inspection Co-operation Scheme (PIC/S), which is an international organization dedicated to harmonizing inspection practices and related policies. FDA has also engaged in initiatives such as the Mutual Recognition Agreement to utilize inspectional observations from capable regulatory authorities, reduce duplicative efforts, and focus resources and inspections on facilities that pose the greatest risk.  In addition, the FDA is promoting engagement with global regulators under the International Coalition of Medicines Regulatory Authorities (ICMRA) forum, which comprises 28 regulatory authorities from around the globe. 

Concept of Operations (ConOps)

In June 2017, CDER and ORA established a ConOps to integrate facility evaluations and inspections for human drugs. See our Q&A page for additional details about how this collaboration will improve consistency, efficiency, and transparency for facility evaluations, inspections, and regulatory actions.

Quality management maturity (QMM)

CDER is establishing a program to promote quality management maturity (QMM) at drug manufacturing establishments. CDER is developing its QMM Assessment Tool (protocol and rubric) to evaluate how effectively establishments monitor and manage quality and quality systems. CDER QMM program aims to encourage drug manufacturers to implement quality management practices that go beyond current good manufacturing practice (CGMP) requirements.

Quality Metrics

FDA requires all drug manufacturers to monitor quality and drive continuous improvement. FDA’s quality metrics webpage provides background on our efforts to initiate a voluntary reporting program that can provide key metrics to the FDA. 

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