Food and Drug Administration, HHS.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing the availability of a guidance entitled “Q4B Evaluation and Recommendation of Pharmacopoeial Texts for Use in the ICH Regions; Annex 4A: Microbiological Examination of Nonsterile Products: Microbial Enumeration Tests General Chapter.” The guidance was prepared under the auspices of the International Conference on Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Registration of Pharmaceuticals for Human Use (ICH). The guidance provides the results of the ICH Q4B evaluation of the Microbiological Examination of Nonsterile Products: Microbial Enumeration Tests General Chapter harmonized text from each of the three pharmacopoeias (United States, European, and Japanese) represented by the Pharmacopoeial Discussion Group (PDG). The guidance conveys recognition of the three pharmacopoeial methods by the three ICH regulatory regions and provides specific information regarding the recognition. The guidance is intended to recognize the interchangeability between the local regional pharmacopoeias, thus avoiding redundant testing in favor of a common testing strategy in each regulatory region. In the Federal Register of February 21, 2008 (73 FR 9575), FDA made available a guidance on the Q4B process entitled “Q4B Evaluation and Recommendation of Pharmacopoeial Texts for Use in the ICH Regions.”
Submit written or electronic comments on agency guidance at any time.
Submit written requests for single copies of the guidance to the Division of Drug Information, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 51, rm. 2201, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002; or the Office of Communication, Outreach and Development (HFM-40), Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER), Food and Drug Administration, 1401 Rockville Pike, suite 200N, Rockville, MD 20852-1448. The guidance may also be obtained by mail by calling CBER at 1-800-835-4709 or 301-827-1800. Send two self-addressed adhesive labels to assist the office in processing your requests. Requests and comments should be identified with the docket number found in brackets in the heading of this document. Submit written comments on the guidance to the Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852. Submit electronic comments to http://www.regulations.gov. See the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for electronic access to the guidance document.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Regarding the guidance: Robert H. King, Sr., Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (HFD-003), Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 51, rm. 4150, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, 301-796-1242; or Christopher Joneckis, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (HFM-25), Food and Drug Administration, 1401 Rockville Pike, suite 200N, Rockville, MD 20852-1448, 301-827-0373.
Regarding the ICH: Michelle Limoli, Office of International Programs (HFG-1), Food and Drug Administration, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857, 301-827-4480.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
In recent years, many important initiatives have been undertaken by regulatory authorities and industry associations to promote international harmonization of regulatory requirements. FDA has participated in many meetings designed to enhance Start Printed Page 15992harmonization and is committed to seeking scientifically based harmonized technical procedures for pharmaceutical development. One of the goals of harmonization is to identify and then reduce differences in technical requirements for drug development among regulatory agencies.
ICH was organized to provide an opportunity for tripartite harmonization initiatives to be developed with input from both regulatory and industry representatives. FDA also seeks input from consumer representatives and others. ICH is concerned with harmonization of technical requirements for the registration of pharmaceutical products among three regions: The European Union, Japan, and the United States. The six ICH sponsors are the European Commission; the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries Associations; the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare; the Japanese Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association; the Centers for Drug Evaluation and Research and Biologics Evaluation and Research, FDA; and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. The ICH Secretariat, which coordinates the preparation of documentation, is provided by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Associations (IFPMA).
The ICH Steering Committee includes representatives from each of the ICH sponsors and the IFPMA, as well as observers from the World Health Organization, Health Canada, and the European Free Trade Area.
In the Federal Register of August 5, 2008 (73 FR 45463), FDA published a notice announcing the availability of a draft tripartite guidance entitled “Q4B Evaluation and Recommendation of Pharmacopoeial Texts for Use in the ICH Regions; Annex 4A: Microbiological Examination of Non-Sterile Products: Microbial Enumeration Tests General Chapter.” The notice gave interested persons an opportunity to submit comments by October 6, 2008.
After consideration of the comments received and revisions to the guidance, a final draft guidance entitled “Q4B Evaluation and Recommendation of Pharmacopoeial Texts for Use in the ICH Regions; Annex 4A: Microbiological Examination of Nonsterile Products: Microbial Enumeration Tests General Chapter” was submitted to the ICH Steering Committee and endorsed by the three participating regulatory agencies in November 2008.
The guidance provides the specific evaluation outcome from the ICH Q4B process for the Microbiological Examination of Nonsterile Products: Microbial Enumeration Tests General Chapter harmonization proposal originating from the three-party PDG. This guidance is in the form of an annex to the core ICH Q4B guidance. When implemented, the annex will provide guidance for industry and regulators on the use of the specific pharmacopoeial texts evaluated by the ICH Q4B process. Following receipt of comments on the draft, no substantive changes were made to the annex.
This guidance is being issued consistent with FDA's good guidance practices regulation (21 CFR 10.115). The guidance represents the agency's current thinking on this topic. It does not create or confer any rights for or on any person and does not operate to bind FDA or the public. An alternative approach may be used if such approach satisfies the requirements of the applicable statutes and regulations.
Interested persons may submit to the Division of Dockets Management (see ADDRESSES) written or electronic comments on the guidance. Submit a single copy of electronic comments or two paper copies of any mailed comments, except that individuals may submit one paper copy. Comments are to be identified with the docket number found in brackets in the heading of this document. Received comments may be seen in the Division of Dockets Management between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
III. Electronic AccessStart Signature
Dated: March 31, 2009.
Associate Commissioner for Policy and Planning.
[FR Doc. E9-7902 Filed 4-7-09; 8:45 am]
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