Brazil's regulatory health authority, Anvisa, plans to establish quality requirements for locally produced pharmaceutical excipients, Anvisa told BioPharm International. The organization publicly released a draft proposal on this policy on June 4, 2012 and the public had 60 days to comment.
Debate on responsibilityAccording to information from the Pharmaceutical Trade Union of the state of São Paulo, Sindusfarma, drug manufacturers are currently responsible for the quality of excipients included in the drugs they produce. Currently, says the Union, the sector lacks specific rules for such products and the pharmaceutical industry uses only a portion of the overall excipients produced in Brazil (other sectors such as health and beauty products use them as well). Many producers may not be interested in complying with all requirements coming from the pharmaceutical industry. The discussion is likely to continue as the industry and regulators debate competing interests and opinions.
The need for quality requirements
Anvisa is responsible for developing standards, authorizing pharmaceutical company operations, and for supervising the quality of pharmaceutical excipients used in drug prducts. Anvisa does this through health inspections to ensure compliance with quality controls in the drug-manufacturing process. Rodero added that Anvisa has started a database of active pharmaceutical excipients from companies that manufacture, import, export, fractionate, stock, expedite, distribute, and pack such products. "Good manufacturing practices for pharmaceutical drugs do not include their pharma excipients as criterion for manufacturing differs," says Rodero. Therefore, a set of clear rules is being suggested to regulate the excipient sector, Rodero says.
"The norms are not being requested by international organizations. The need came up due to the lack of regulation, which makes the harmonization process difficult during inspections. We requested that health authorities in countries that hold technical cooperation agreements with Brazil to send information on how excipients are treated regarding local norms and authorizations," says Rodero, adding that the responses are now being evaluated and the data consolidated.
The draft proposal, made public on June 4, 2012, was written based on documents from the International Pharmaceutical Excipients Council–Europe, the World Health Organization, and the US Pharmacopeial Convention, revealed Rodero.
Adverse reactions related to excipients
According to Anvisa, because excipients can affect the final quality of a given drug, the establishment of an "ResoluÇão da Diretoria Colegiada" (RDC—Anvisa's Collegiate Board of Directors Resolution) is important for minimizing health risks involved during the manufacturing process. Standardizing GMPs and practices for the Brazilian sector, qualifying suppliers, and strengthening local producers are part of the goal as well, states the health authority. Excipients used in pharmaceuticals may act as antiadherents, binders, coatings, disintegrants, fillers, flavours, colors, lubricants, glidants, sorbents, preservatives, and sweeteners, according to pharmaceutical data from Anvisa.
According to Rodero, the need for local producers of excipients to comply with quality requirements is important to increase public health safety because excipients can generate side effects or affect the final pharmaceutical product. Excipients in drugs sold in Brazil were responsible for cases of adverse drug reactions (ADR) in adults and children, according to a study conducted in 2004 by the Federal University of Ceará.