• How to Practice Quality Management in Your Personal Life

    “Quality management” is one of those terms that sounds so simple and esoteric at the same time, like DNA or free cash flow. I’m pretty sure I know what those terms mean until I start explaining them to someone. 

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  • Brave New World: The Mutual Recognition of CGMP Inspections

    Last week, the United States and the European Union agreed to recognize each other’s drug cGMP inspections. The agreement reached (see

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  • The Data Driven Reality of Clinical Trials

    Why are metrics important in starting clinical trials? This question may seem counter intuitive, as we are exposed almost daily to the dire performance of clinical trials and their spiraling costs resulting from incurred delays.

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  • The Migraine Known as the Supplier Audit — and Some Simple Remedies

    The topic of supplier audits can cause severe anxiety and headaches for many biopharma companies. This pain stems from the combination of having to understand the applicable regulations, determine the elements of a supplier audit in terms of criticality, establish the frequency and type of audits to be performed based on this evaluation, and follow-up on any issues found. Sufficient time is needed to prepare for and execute such activities, and time is one thing few of us have enough of. However

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  • How to Lead with Respect

    “Over time I’ve come to realize that engaging in this problem-solving process is actually the highest form of respect….The manager truly respects the employee’s knowledge and his or her dedication to finding the best answer….Only by showing mutual respect-- each for the other and for each other’s role-- is it possible to solve problems, make work more satisfying, and move organizational performance to an ever-higher level.”

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  • 5 CAPA Best Practices You Should Be Doing Now

    Let’s play a quick word association game. If I say CAPA, I’m betting someone will say manufacturing. The concept of corrective action and preventative action is indeed associated with product quality in manufacturing because of long-standing regulations and standards requiring CAPA in that sector. However, MasterControl’s Patricia Santos-Serrao says you can and should leverage CAPA principles in clinical research.

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  • GCP Compliance: Eliminating Silos between Clinical Quality and Clinical Operations

    In a classic episode of Seinfeld, George Costanza is terrified of the potential ramifications of his “worlds colliding” when his fiancée, Susan, becomes friendlier with his dubious pals Elaine, Kramer and Jerry. “Everybody knows you’ve got to keep your worlds apart,” George rants (but when does George not rant?) “If Susan is allowed to infiltrate this world then George Costanza as you know him ceases to exist. If Relationship George walks through this door, he will kill Independent George! A George divided against itself cannot stand!”

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  • Process Validation: Life Cycle Approach Beats Crossing Your Fingers

    f you do something right three times, you should be able to do it that way always. If this is your approach to process validation, Hal Baseman, chief operations officer at ValSource LLC, begs to differ. Baseman shared some insights about improving process validation at the PDA/FDA Joint Regulatory Conference in Washington D.C., Sept. 12-14.

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  • Retraining and Refresher Training: Aren’t They One in the Same?

    Ask an operations manager and he’ll acknowledge that what it’s called is less important than getting the “assignment” done and entered into the LMS. He’s usually more concerned about the loss of productivity during the training than the effectiveness of the training at that time. It isn’t until later when the training may have to be delivered again (repeated), that the comment “training doesn’t really work” is heard.

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  • Renowned Physician Patch Adams Urges Techies to Help Build an Ethical World

    Patch Adams, the physician famously played on the silver screen by Robin Williams, urged IT professionals to help build an ethical and nonviolent world during his keynote speech at the 2016 Masters Summit in Salt Lake City.

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  • Identifying and Preventing Common Data Integrity Issues

    Because of the multitude of problems being found in regulatory agency inspections, data integrity is a hot issue for regulators around the world today. Data integrity is critically important to regulators for a variety of reasons, including patient safety, process and product quality. The integrity and trustworthiness of the data provides a baseline for the regulators opinion of the personnel and the company as a whole.

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  • Your Suppliers’ Risk Is Your Risk

    In today’s day and age, in which outsourcing can be the norm, and not only major global corporations stretch across the globe, but also potentially mid-market and mom-and-pop suppliers, supply chains are no longer insulated from external or environmental risk events. These risks can range from a natural disaster, such as the Japan earthquake and tsunami, to lax safety policies, in the case of the Bangladesh garment factory collapse, to the regular ebb and flow of business, including when a supplier is acquired or goes out of business. These risks are not new to the supply chain, but as the supply chain grows more complex, so do the risks to supply, especially when visibility is blurred, suppliers are far-flung and there is no backup plan in sight.

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  • What, No Internal Audits?

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

    “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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  • Accelerate Time-to-Market by Improving Process Validation

    Process validation, a general term for critical disciplines such as risk mitigation/management, quality assurance and change management, is something that far too many life science manufacturers only worry about when a product is just about to go to market. That late in the game, though, it can be hard to produce the required and relevant information that has accumulated during years of product development. In a recent article in PharmTech titled “Reducing the Documentation Burden in Process Validation,” Patricia Santos-Serrao, RAC, of MasterControl explains how regulatory agencies define process validation as it pertains to the collection and evaluation of data from the process design stage all the way through to commercial production.

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  • SOP Revision SWAT-Style

    SOP revision. It falls somewhere between income tax prep and colonoscopy prep on the likability scale. So why would you want to read about it? Maybe you’re hoping someone’s figured out a way to make the process more efficient and less painful. Maybe we have.

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  • Five Reasons Why TMF Training is Important

    Training is a vital component of workplace efficiency especially when it comes to one of the most important deliverables of a clinical trial – the Trial Master File (TMF). Perhaps that’s why, according to a recent article in Forbes magazine, U.S. companies spent over $70 billion on corporate training in 2014, an increase of 15% over the previous year. If you are lucky enough to oversee the TMF, you spend so much time bringing the right employees on board, it only makes sense you would understand the importance of providing them with the proper training to ensure your TMF is always inspection ready.

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

    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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  • Don’t Trip over These 9 Document Control Pitfalls

    Document control issues are among the most commonly cited observations in FDA Form 483s and warning letters. In the medical device sector alone, document control-related issues represented 10 percent of Form 483 observations and 8 percent of warning letters in 2014(1).

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

    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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