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World Health Organisation (WHO) publishes draft umbrella guideline for process validation - 13 Jul 2016

The Appendix 7 of WHO guideline provides support with regard to non-sterile process validation. Although this appendix was revised at the end of 2015 it is apparent that further changes to WHO guidelines are in sight. One of these changes concerns the draft guideline on process validation which was available for comments until up to the 12th of July 2016.  The key elements of the guideline worth mentioning is summarised herein.

The draft contains 21 pages divided into 13 chapters and another part with references.  It is an umbrella guideline as it cross references other appendices of the WHO Technical Series and is expected to replace Annex 4 of the WHO Technical Report Series No. 937 from 2006.  The appendices referenced include;

The draft guideline re-emphasises that validation is an essential part of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and Good Clinical Practice (GCP), encompassing qualification and a lifecycle comprising an "ongoing review" for continuous improvements.  The necessity, scope and depth of validation activities should be based on quality risk management principles.

In addition, the document addresses the relationship between validation and qualification. “Qualification and validation are essentially the same” whereby qualification is normally used in relation to equipment and utilities, and validation in relation to systems and processes. 

Furthermore, the document emphasises that a concise and clear Validation Master Plan is a GMP requirement and should be available.  The validation master plan should be regularly reviewed and the GMP status should be kept up-to-date.

The minimum requirements concerning the validation and qualification protocols are also fairly detailed.  The document also points out that there should be a description of how results should be analysed (including statistical analyses where appropriate).  On qualification and validation reports, the focus of reporting is put on statistical analyses where possible. The final approval of reports should be done by the quality assurance department.

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