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Q3D(R1) Elemental Impurities; International Council for Harmonisation; Guidance for Industry; Availability

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Food and Drug Administration, HHS.


Notice of availability.


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or Agency) is announcing the availability of a revised final guidance for industry entitled “Q3D(R1) Elemental Impurities.” The guidance was prepared under the auspices of the International Council for Harmonisation (ICH), formerly the International Conference on Harmonisation. This guidance finalizes the draft guidance “Q3D(R1) Elemental Impurities” published on July 13, 2018. This guidance revises the existing guidance for industry “Q3D Elemental Impurities” and provides an updated permitted daily exposure (PDE) for the cadmium inhalation route of exposure. The updated PDE of 3 micrograms (µg)/day is based on a modifying factor approach like that used for calculating the PDEs for the cadmium oral and parenteral routes of exposure. This revised guidance is intended to correct a calculation error in the PDE for cadmium by the inhalation route of exposure.


The announcement of the guidance is published in the Federal Register on March 11, 2020.


You may submit either electronic or written comments on Agency guidances at any time as follows:Start Printed Page 14204

Electronic Submissions

Submit electronic comments in the following way:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Comments submitted electronically, including attachments, to will be posted to the docket unchanged. Because your comment will be made public, you are solely responsible for ensuring that your comment does not include any confidential information that you or a third party may not wish to be posted, such as medical information, your or anyone else's Social Security number, or confidential business information, such as a manufacturing process. Please note that if you include your name, contact information, or other information that identifies you in the body of your comments, that information will be posted on
  • If you want to submit a comment with confidential information that you do not wish to be made available to the public, submit the comment as a written/paper submission and in the manner detailed (see “Written/Paper Submissions” and “Instructions”).

Written/Paper Submissions

Submit written/paper submissions as follows:

  • Mail/Hand Delivery/Courier (for written/paper submissions): Dockets Management Staff (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.
  • For written/paper comments submitted to the Dockets Management Staff, FDA will post your comment, as well as any attachments, except for information submitted, marked and identified, as confidential, if submitted as detailed in “Instructions.”

Instructions: All submissions received must include the Docket No. FDA-2013-D-1156 for “Q3D(R1) Elemental Impurities.” Received comments will be placed in the docket and, except for those submitted as “Confidential Submissions,” publicly viewable at or at the Dockets Management Staff between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

  • Confidential Submissions—To submit a comment with confidential information that you do not wish to be made publicly available, submit your comments only as a written/paper submission. You should submit two copies total. One copy will include the information you claim to be confidential with a heading or cover note that states “THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION.” The Agency will review this copy, including the claimed confidential information, in its consideration of comments. The second copy, which will have the claimed confidential information redacted/blacked out, will be available for public viewing and posted on Submit both copies to the Dockets Management Staff. If you do not wish your name and contact information to be made publicly available, you can provide this information on the cover sheet and not in the body of your comments and you must identify this information as “confidential.” Any information marked as “confidential” will not be disclosed except in accordance with 21 CFR 10.20 and other applicable disclosure law. For more information about FDA's posting of comments to public dockets, see 80 FR 56469, September 18, 2015, or access the information at:​content/​pkg/​FR-2015-09-18/​pdf/​2015-23389.pdf.

Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or the electronic and written/paper comments received, go to and insert the docket number, found in brackets in the heading of this document, into the “Search” box and follow the prompts and/or go to the Dockets Management Staff, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

You may submit comments on any guidance at any time (see 21 CFR 10.115(g)(5)).

Submit written requests for single copies of this guidance to the Division of Drug Information, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, 10001 New Hampshire Ave., Hillandale Building, 4th Floor, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, or the Office of Communication, Outreach and Development, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER), Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 71, Rm. 3128, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002. Send one self-addressed adhesive label to assist that office in processing your requests. The guidance may also be obtained by mail by calling CBER at 1-800-835-4709 or 240-402-8010. See the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for electronic access to the guidance document.

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Regarding the guidance: Tim McGovern, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 22, Rm. 6426, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, 240-402-0477.

Regarding the ICH: Amanda Roache, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 51, Rm. 6364, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, 301-796-4548.

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I. Background

In recent years, regulatory authorities and industry associations from around the world have participated in many important initiatives to promote international harmonization of regulatory requirements under the ICH. FDA has participated in several ICH meetings designed to enhance harmonization, and FDA is committed to seeking scientifically based harmonized technical procedures for pharmaceutical development. One of the goals of harmonization is to identify and reduce differences in technical requirements for drug development among regulatory agencies.

ICH was established to provide an opportunity for 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 for human use among regulators around the world. The six founding members of the ICH are the European Commission; the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries Associations; FDA; the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare; the Japanese Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association; and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. The Standing Members of the ICH Association include Health Canada and Swissmedic. Any party eligible as a Member in accordance with the ICH Articles of Association can apply for membership in writing to the ICH Secretariat. The ICH Secretariat, which coordinates the preparation of documentation, operates as an international nonprofit organization and is funded by the Members of the ICH Association.

The ICH Assembly is the overarching body of the Association and includes representatives from each of the ICH members and observers. The Assembly is responsible for the endorsement of draft guidelines and adoption of final guidelines. FDA publishes ICH guidelines as FDA guidance.

In the Federal Register of July 13, 2018 (83 FR 32669), FDA published a notice announcing the availability of a draft guidance entitled “Q3D Elemental Start Printed Page 14205Impurities.” The notice gave interested persons an opportunity to submit comments by August 13, 2018.

After consideration of the comments received, a final draft of the guideline was submitted to the ICH Assembly and endorsed by the regulatory agencies in March 2019.

The guidance revises the existing guidance for industry “Q3D Elemental Impurities” and provides an updated permitted daily exposure (PDE) for the cadmium inhalation route of exposure. The revision was initiated following identification of a calculation error in the original text. The updated PDE of 3 µg/day is based on a modifying factor approach that is consistent with the method used for calculating the PDEs for the oral and parenteral routes of exposure.

This guidance is being issued consistent with FDA's good guidance practices regulation (21 CFR 10.115). The guidance represents the current thinking of FDA on “Q3D(R1) Elemental Impurities.” It does not establish any rights for any person and is not binding on FDA or the public. You can use an alternative approach if it satisfies the requirements of the applicable statutes and regulations.

II. Electronic Access

Persons with access to the internet may obtain the guidance at,​Drugs/​GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/​Guidances/​default.htm, or​vaccines-blood-biologics/​guidance-compliance-regulatory-information-biologics/​biologics-guidances.

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Dated: March 6, 2020.

Lowell J. Schiller,

Principal Associate Commissioner for Policy.

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[FR Doc. 2020-04995 Filed 3-10-20; 8:45 am]