• Multipurpose Tool vs. Best-of-Breed Platform: How to Tell the Difference

    15 September, 2015 Paul Sanderson, Solutions Consultants Group Lead

    When we invest in tools, we naturally want the most bang for our buck. Who hasn’t tried to use a screwdriver as a pry bar or a pair of pliers for loosening a bolt when a properly sized wrench would be more appropriate?

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  • Hacking GMPs: Deliberate Attacks or Accidental Workarounds?

    17 September, 2015 Vivian Bringslimark, President & Owner, HPIS Consulting, Inc.

    The subtitle tells it all. Most employees don’t come to work with the intention to cause harm, fail or make mistakes intentionally. Yet mistakes, errors, and failures happen. According to Sidney Dekker, author of The Field Guide to Understanding Human Error, “mismatches between written guidance and operational practice always exist”. I’s due to “the amount of increasingly tight constraints of procedures” (p.8). There have been some occasions where following a procedure could have caused a deviation if it weren’t for an astute technician who questioned the “GMP” rule. Talk about a GMP dilemma, “always follow the SOP” but don’t create a deviation either. Alas, we have a classic example of a white hat hacker.

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  • Trust is Not Just Nice, It’s the Key to Your Success

    19 October, 2015 Cindy Fazzi, Staff Writer

    Whether you’re a quality professional responsible for your system implementation or a CEO getting ready to launch a medical device startup, Stephen M.R. Covey believes there’s one thing you need to succeed—trust. “Trust is an economic driver, not merely a social virtue,” he said in his keynote address at the 2015 Masters Summit.

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  • 6 Traits You Should Develop to Become an Exceptional Quality Pro

    22 October, 2015 Cindy Fazzi, Editor, MasterControl Insider

    In a regulated company, quality professionals may be revered or dreaded or downright misunderstood. But there’s no denying their important role. As quality guru Joseph Juran said, all improvement happens project by project and in no other way. To paraphrase Juran, I would say a high-quality product or service happens step by step and process by process. Guess who’s responsible for making sure every step and every process is working effectively? You got that right—quality pros.

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  • Inspection Readiness: Leveraging Inspection Focus Areas and Increasing the Transparency of Investigator Oversight

    1 December, 2015 Jessica Masarek, Quality Assurance Consultant | Independent Auditor Director, Muse Clinical

    Audits and inspections seem to be wrapped in a shroud of mystery, making folks stressed and unsure of exactly what is going to happen. What if I say the wrong thing? What if I don’t know the answer? What if I can’t provide what they are asking for? Realistically, all of these things will probably happen! That said, as long as you are honest, all will be well. Mistakes happen and no auditor or inspector is expecting perfection. We are expecting transparency. As an auditor, my goal is to confirm that the trial is run in a way that ensures the safety of subjects, protects their rights, and generates reliable data. Sponsors want to continue working with sites in which so much effort has been invested and will work to identify areas for improvement if deficiencies are noted. An inspector has a similar goal with respect to the assessment of trial conduct. So, how do we ensure that trials are run at the level of quality that regulators are looking for and that are truly inspection ready?

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  • 6 Ways Quality Managers Can Build a Culture of Quality

    12 January, 2016 Beth Pedersen, Marketing Communications Specialist, MasterControl

    If you’re a quality manager, you have a demanding job. In a nutshell, you’re responsible for ensuring satisfactory and consistent quality throughout every successive step of the development of your products and services, a duty which requires you to wield a massive skill set and wear many different hats. Your daily existence revolves around quality; you dissect it and measure it and evaluate it and analyze it; you sleep, eat and breathe quality. And yet, how often do you really contemplate the concept of quality, and what it means to your company beyond the daily rigors of meeting customer requirements and upholding mandatory regulations and standards?

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  • How to Respond to FDA Inspection Observations, Including Those You Dispute

    26 January, 2016 Martin Browning, President, EduQuest, Inc.: FDA expert investigator and rule-maker for 22 years

    Although FDA is strapped with limited resources and competing priorities, the Agency continues to hammer regulated companies with FDA 483 inspection observations and Warning Letters.

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  • When Is A CRO Not A CRO? (And why does that make enforcement hard?)

    11 February, 2016 amie Colgin, Colgin Consulting

    Investigator site personnel recorded observations about clinical trial subjects in paper medical charts. Lab work was performed and interpreted at a local lab; X-rays and ECGs were taken and interpreted locally; and results were sent back to the investigator.

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  • Quality by Design Part 1: You Can't Design Something You Don't Understand

    1 March, 2016 Beth Pedersen, Marketing Communications, MasterControl

    Just like every other aspect of a product, quality is determined by the decisions you make in the design stages. While spending less time on planning upfront might seem to save you money, the costs associated with poor quality resulting from early design decisions can ultimately equate to 40 percent of your company’s total revenue. Correctly understanding the true nature of quality and addressing it in the design stages rather than trying to bring it in as an afterthought is the central premise of Quality by Design (QbD), and adhering to this principle could be the most cost-saving measure your company will ever take.

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  • Leveraging Quality Management Systems to Visualize and Mitigate Risk at a Cross-Enterprise Level

    11 March, 2016 Robyn Barnes, Marketing Communications, MasterControl

    You may be familiar with what a quality management system (QMS) is, but do you know how to use one at a cross-enterprise level?

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  • Why We Trek to Trade Shows

    14 March, 2016 Jill Bumgardner, Global Events Manager, MasterControl

    Most people generally support the notion that trade shows are still relevant, but sometimes a little pep talk is in order.

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  • ISO 9001:2015 - A Powerful Addition to Your Professional Tool Kit

    29 March, 2016 Greg Peckford Founder, Quality Career Advancement

    There are over one million organizations in over 170 countries registered to ISO 9001. That alone is a pretty impressive statistic claimed by www.iso.org. But what this stat is missing are the countless other companies worldwide that have adopted the ISO 9001 standard as a blueprint for the development and implementation of their quality management systems without becoming formally certified.

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  • Income Tax Myths and Document Control Systems

    5 April, 2016 Robyn Barnes, Marketing Communications, MasterControl

    I’ve been reading Steve Berry’s novel, “The Patriot Threat.” The crux of the book is that the 16th Amendment to the Constitution, the one that requires Americans to pay income tax, may be illegal. The story goes that some of the states may have never ratified the Amendment, and some may have ratified a document that didn’t have the same wording as others. (I won’t spoil the mystery by telling you what transpires.)

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  • Proposed Legislation Would Create a New Conditional Approval Pathway to Market for Regenerative Medicine Products

    28 April, 2016 Jeffrey K. Shapiro & Charlene Cho Hyman; Phelps & McNamara, P.C.

    In the emerging world of regenerative medicine, there is a stark dichotomy in the level of regulation applied to products derived from human cells and tissues, or what FDA calls “human cells, tissue or cellular and tissue‑based products” (HCT/Ps).

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  • Cleanroom Compliance: How to Address Common Challenges in Document Control

    5 May, 2016 Dave Hunter, Product Management Director, MasterControl

    A recent warning letter to a medical device firm shows the importance of proper documentation of cleanroom maintenance procedures and corresponding control of those documents. The FDA noted the company’s failure to establish and maintain written procedures for avoiding contamination of equipment, as well as the incongruity between some of its cleanroom procedures and records of actual practice (1).

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  • The Dude Abides! 5 Quotes from “The Big Lebowski” that Apply to Quality

    14 June, 2016 Cindy Fazzi, Staff Writer

    “The Big Lebowski” never fails to make me laugh. The 1998 cult classic, starring the indefatigable Jeff Bridges, features some of the most quotable lines in film. Saying them is enough to break the ice among strangers at a party. In my family, the quotes are inside jokes that never grow old.

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  • What, No Internal Audits?

    21 June, 2016 Dr. Christopher Joseph Devine, President Devine Guidance International

    For the aerospace, defense, automotive, pharmaceutical or medical device industries, it really makes no difference when it comes to auditing the effectiveness of the quality management system (QMS): An established auditing program is a fundamental requirement. ISO 9001, ISO 13485, AS 9100, and the primary topic of most of Dr. D’s rants 21 CFR, Part 820 compliance, all have elements mandating that quality audits be performed. So the doctor always finds it quite disturbing when a device establishment fails to comprehend the importance of creating an audit schedule and actually performing the audits.

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  • The First Step To Navigating Your Combination Product's Regulatory Pathway: PMOA

    23 June, 2016 Winston Brown, VP of Global Quality & Regulatory Affairs Phillips-Medisize

    The drug-device combination product market is growing at a rapid pace. By 2019, it is expected that the global market for drug device combination products will reach $115.1 billion. This is nearly double its worth from $66 billion back in 2012.(1) This burgeoning market will likely bring in a flood of product submission applications to the FDA at a time when resources are already strained. To avoid unnecessary delays and gain speed to market through ‘right the first time’ regulatory submissions for a combination product, sponsor companies must understand the various pathways for which a combination product can travel. In addition, companies must also understand their own products enough to be able to discern what specific regulatory path it would follow. This not only preserves the relationship between sponsors and regulators, but it also ensures safe and effective medical treatments reach patients in a timely manner.

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  • MasterControl’s Walt Murray Emphasizes “Establishing Design Parameters” at INTERPHEX 2016

    24 June, 2016 Marci Crane, Localization Manager, MasterControl

    INTERPHEX, one of the largest trade shows and combined fairs and exhibitions for the pharmaceutical, biosciences, biotechnology, medical device, and biomedical engineering industries was held last March at the Javits Center in New York, New York. There are 10,000 participants expected every year for INTERPHEX and 2016 was no exception.

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  • The Proper Role of the FDA in the 21st Century

    21 July, 2016 Dr. Joseph Gulfo, Executive Director, Rothman Institute of Innovation & Entrepreneurship

    The current medical marketplace is vastly different from the marketplace that existed when the basic elements of Food and Drug Administration law were passed. Despite rapidly advancing technology and patients’ increasing desire to try new drugs and devices, the FDA has strayed significantly from the statutorily defined safety and effectiveness standards for drug approvals. The FDA now very often demands proof of clinical utility, including survival and disease outcomes, as a requirement for premarket approval. But hard proof of clinical utility is elusive, even for drugs that are clearly shown to be safe and effective as labeled. Rather than blocking safe and effective drugs on such grounds, we should allow physicians and patients to make outcome-oriented decisions, and rely on the medical marketplace to drive physician adoption of safe and effective drugs that prove to have great clinical utility in real-world settings.

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