January 22, 2013

FDA released the final rule on current good manufacturing practices for combination products

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released the final rule on current good manufacturing practices (cGMPs) for combination products on Friday, January 18, 2013. This rule is intended to clarify how the agency’s GMP requirements should be applied to the manufacturing operations of combination product companies. On the positive side, the rule seeks to streamline the requirements to minimize needless duplication between drug, medical device and biological product requirements.

Overall, there was very little changed from the proposed rule to the final rule. It is the hope of many within the industry that now that the final rule has been published, FDA will begin to communicate more freely with industry stakeholders, as many feel that clarification is still needed on how GMPs are applied to combination products.

Manufacturers will now have 180 days to sort all of the elements of the rule out before it becomes effective. While this should not, in theory, cause any issues because the rule did not change existing law, this process will hopefully also clarify how the GMPs get applied to combination products more fundamentally, and many companies may not have understood what FDA would say they intended the rules to be previously.

As such, it is going to be terribly important that FDA come out with the implementing guidance very quickly so that companies can start modifying their quality systems as necessary.

As part of the FDA communication strategy, a stakeholder webinar is being held to highlight the innovation and transparency value of this rule, noting that industry has been asking FDA to finalize it. The stakeholder webinar will be held Thursday, January 24, 2013 from 2:30 p.m. – 3:15 p.m., ET, and will consist of a brief presentation by John Weiner, Associate Director for Policy, Office of Combination Products.

The webcast may viewed at

Learn more about participating in the stakeholder webinar.

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