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GxP is a critical topic for manufacturers operating in regulated industries. In order to ensure that products meet the necessary health and safety standards outlined by regulatory bodies, businesses must provide clear and transparent insight into the systems and processes that go into the production of items within their facility.
To ensure businesses are making products that are safe for the end consumer, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has developed a set of guidelines that businesses in these different industries must follow to ensure that their products meet the necessary quality and safety standards. These guidelines are collectively referred to as GxP.
In this post, we’ll review GxP in detail, defining what GxP is, who it applies to, and specifically how Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), a subset of GxP, relates to manufacturers across different industries.
What is GxP
GxP stands for “Good ( _ ) Practices”. The “x” represents the specific industry to which these practices apply. For instance, if a company operates in the manufacturing space, it will follow Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).
Since different regulated industries have various quality requirements expected of them, their operational practices will differ depending on the context. Therefore, businesses across different industries will have GxP tailored for the specific needs and requirements of their field of operations. Some other examples include Good Clinical Practices (GCP), Good Laboratory Practices (GLP), and Good Distribution Practices (GDP).
Despite the differences, GxP focuses on three key areas: traceability, accountability, and reliability.
Traceability ensures that every step of an item’s production process can be followed back to the starting point, accounting for every step.
Accountability identifies personnel involved in the production process, laying out their various roles, responsibilities, and inputs.
Reliability centers around the integrity of the data used for traceability and accountability.
Let’s next discuss how GxP applies to manufacturers across regulated industries.
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An overview of Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP)
Current Good Manufacturing Practices are the up-to-date rules and regulations outlined by the FDA for businesses in regulated manufacturing industries, specifically businesses in pharmaceutical, medical device, and food and beverage industries.
While GMP refers to the general manufacturing best practices outlined above, cGMP defines the specific, updated requirements listed in the Code of Federal Regulation (CFR). The Code of Federal Regulations is divided into 50 titles covering different subjects of Federal regulation and is updated on an annual basis.
Ultimately, the guidelines are meant to ensure that manufacturers make safe, high-quality products to distribute to consumers. Failure to do so could result in wide-ranging health and safety concerns for customers, as well as significant penalties for companies at fault.
The 5 pillars of cGMP
There are five core components that apply to most GxP environments, commonly referred to as the 5 Ps. Manufacturers must be sure that each component adheres to the necessary standards and guidelines. The 5 Ps include:
People: Above all else, achieving and maintaining quality standards starts with the people involved in the manufacturing process. Therefore, manufacturers need to bring everyone into the loop, providing comprehensive training to employees to ensure that they know their responsibilities.
Additionally, continuous training ensures adherence to the most current standards. Companies should also review operator performance on an individual basis to identify opportunities to improve productivity and efficiency.
Products: Because products make it out into the customers’ hands, manufacturers need to ensure that the items meet the necessary quality requirements. Products need to undergo constant testing and quality assurance to ensure they meet the set specifications.
This testing and quality assurance should be done at each stage of production, from the raw material stage until it’s sent out to customers.
Processes: The different processes executed in the production facility need to be documented clearly and consistently, ensuring that workers can easily access and follow them.
Additionally, these processes need to be updated whenever products, systems, or pertinent regulations change over time.
Procedures: In most regulated environments, production processes usually contain several procedures in order to produce the item. To ensure that the processes achieve consistent, high-quality results, the relevant procedures must be clearly presented to personnel and followed.
Standardizing these procedures ensures that the manufacturing operation can consistently and efficiently produce quality items, preventing defects and deviations from regulatory guidelines.
Premises: For the most part, each of the previous GMP components is impacted by the facility that production is taking place in. Achieving and maintaining quality and safety throughout the manufacturing process comes down to ensuring that workers have what they need to complete their work while following regulatory guidelines.
As such, regulators provide specific recommendations as it relates to cleanliness, regular equipment calibration, and maintenance of all items within a production facility. This ensures that personnel can safely and consistently execute their work while maintaining compliance.
Streamlining GMP compliance with digital tools
Obviously, manufacturers are beholden to a number of strict regulatory standards that can make day-to-day operations clunky and difficult. That’s why most modern manufacturers are adopting digital solutions and GMP compliance software to help streamline compliance procedures from workplace audits to quality events, history records, documentation, and more.
Adopting the right solution can benefit businesses by ensuring compliance becomes a baked-in part of production processes while promoting accountability and driving continuous improvement over time.
If you’re interested in learning how your business can improve the way you approach regulatory compliance, please feel free to reach out to a member of our team today!
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