8 June 2013

“ICH Pursues its Reform and Takes Steps Towards Increased Transparency”

The International Conference on Harmonisation (ICH) Steering Committee (SC) and its Expert Working Groups (EWGs) met in La Hulpe, Belgium on 1 - 6 June 2013. Furthering the discussions on structural changes and increased engagement of regulators globally that took place in San Diego in November 2012, the ICH SC agreed measures aimed at increased transparency – a step forward in fostering openness as ICH continues its pursuit of greater harmonisation. Further progress was made on the individual topics, notably the Q3D on “Elemental Impurities” which reached Step 2a/2b in Brussels.

Towards Increased Transparency

The ICH SC has agreed to make more detailed information regarding the ongoing ICH activities available to the public. From now on, the agenda and the report of the SC meetings as well as the work plans of active expert working groups will be published on the ICH website. The ICH procedures and a set of slides summarising their key elements will also be published. The ICH website will be updated to reflect these changes.

ICH Reform - Increased Engagement and Implementation of Guidelines Globally

The ICH SC made progress in the discussions on further reform of ICH. A new ICH organisational structure will be adopted and will set the framework for new rules on governance, decision making and membership. To promote greater involvement of global regulators, the ICH Global Cooperation Group (GCG) was successfully integrated into sessions of the ICH Steering Committee.

Electronic Standards

The ICH SC endorsed an extended mandate of an E2B(R3) Implementation Working Group (IWG) on the implementation and technical maintenance of the “Electronic Transmission of Individual Case Safety Reports (ICSR)” based on the Implementation Guide (IG), which progressed to Step 4 in November 2012. This is to incorporate the use of the five international ISO standards on Identification of Medicinal Products (IDMP) constrained for the purpose of ICSR reporting on the basis of E2B(R3). These IDMP ISO standards are the second work item to be successfully completed under a pilot process with Standards Development Organisations and result from the activities of the ICH M5 “Data Elements and Standards for Drug Dictionaries” Expert Working Group. The SC expressed its appreciation to the M5 group for these achievements and consequently decided to disband the group. Further IDMP implementation work focusing on the life cycle management of medicinal products will be progressed by interested regulators outside of the ICH framework.

Safety Update

The S10 EWG on “Photosafety Evaluation” reviewed the outcome of the public consultation in view of finalising the guideline. The S1 EWG on “Rodent Carcinogenicity Studies for Human Pharmaceuticals” went through comments received on the draft Regulatory Notices Document (RND). The initiative to discuss the strategy for testing the carcinogenic potential received a broad support by all the stakeholders that commented on the RND.

Quality Update

The Q3D EWG on “Elemental Impurities” reached Step 2a/2b in Brussels. This draft guideline contains 3 elements: the evaluation of the toxicity data for potential elemental impurities, the establishment of a Permitted Daily Exposure (PDE) for each element of toxicological concern, and development of controls designed to limit the inclusion of elemental impurities in drug products to levels at or below the PDE. The draft guidance will be released for public consultations. The Q7 IWG on “Good Manufacturing Practice Guide for Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients” met for the second time in view of developing a Q&A document to address current issues raised by the use of the Q7 Guideline. This work is carried out in collaboration with the Pharmaceutical Inspection Convention and the Pharmaceutical Inspection Cooperation Scheme (jointly referred to as PIC/S). The next ICH Steering Committee and its Expert Working Groups meetings will be held in Osaka, Japan on 9 - 14 November 2013.

For further information, please contact the ICH Secretariat at admin@ich.org.

Download the PDF version of the Press Release