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Good manufacturing practices (GMP) are the practices required in order to conform to guidelines recommended by agencies that control authorization and licensing for manufacture and sale of food, drug products, and active pharmaceutical products. These guidelines provide minimum requirements that a pharmaceutical or a food product manufacturer must meet to assure that the products are of high quality and do not pose any risk to the consumer or public.
Good manufacturing practice guidelines provide guidance for manufacturing, testing, and quality assurance in order to ensure that a drug product is safe for human consumption. Many countries have legislated that pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers follow GMP procedures and create their own GMP guidelines that correspond with their legislation.
All guidelines follow a few basic principles:
Practices are recommended with the goal of safeguarding the health of patients as well as producing good quality medicine, medical devices, or active pharmaceutical products. In the United States, a drug may be deemed "adulterated" if it has passed all of the specifications tests, but is found to be manufactured in a facility or condition which violates or does not comply with current good manufacturing guideline. Therefore, complying with GMP is mandatory in pharmaceutical manufacturing.
GMP guidelines are not prescriptive instructions on how to manufacture products. They are a series of general principles that must be observed during manufacturing. When a company is setting up its quality program and manufacturing process, there may be many ways it can fulfill GMP requirements. It is the company's responsibility to determine the most effective and efficient quality process.
GMPs are enforced in the United States by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), under Section 501(B) of the 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 USCS § 351). The regulations use the phrase "current good manufacturing practices" (cGMP) to describe these guidelines. Courts may theoretically hold that a drug product is adulterated even if there is no specific regulatory requirement that was violated as long as the process was not performed according to industry standards. Since June 2010, a different set of cGMP requirements have applied to all manufacturers of dietary supplements.
The World Health Organization (WHO) version of GMP is used by pharmaceutical regulators and the pharmaceutical industry in over one hundred countries worldwide, primarily in the developing world. The European Union's GMP (EU-GMP) enforces similar requirements to WHO GMP, as does the FDA's version in the US. Similar GMPs are used in other countries, with Australia, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Philippines, Vietnam and others having highly developed/sophisticated GMP requirements. In the United Kingdom, the Medicines Act (1968) covers most aspects of GMP in what is commonly referred to as "The Orange Guide", which is named so because of the color of its cover; it is officially known as Rules and Guidance for Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Distributors.
Since the 1999 publication of GMPs for Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients, by the International Conference on Harmonization (ICH), GMPs now apply in those countries and trade groupings that are signatories to ICH (the EU, Japan and the U.S.), and applies in other countries (e.g., Australia, Canada, Singapore) which adopt ICH guidelines for the manufacture and testing of active raw materials.
Within the European Union, GMP inspections are performed by National Regulatory Agencies (e.g., GMP inspections are performed in the United Kingdom by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)); in the Republic of Korea (South Korea) by the Korea Food & Drug Administration (KFDA); in Australia by the Therapeutical Goods Administration (TGA); in Bangladesh by the Drug Administration (DGDA); in South Africa by the Medicines Control Council (MCC); in Brazil by the Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária (National Health Surveillance Agency Brazil) (ANVISA); in Iran, in India gmp inspections are carried out by state FDA and these FDA report to Central Drugs Standard Control Organization  and Pakistan by the Ministry of Health;, Nigeria has NAFDAC and by similar national organisations worldwide. Each of the inspectorates carry out routine GMP inspections to ensure that drug products are produced safely and correctly; additionally, many countries perform pre-approval inspections (PAI) for GMP compliance prior to the approval of a new drug for marketing.
Regulatory agencies (including the FDA in the U.S. and regulatory agencies in many European nations) are authorized to conduct unannounced inspections, though some are scheduled. FDA routine domestic inspections are usually unannounced, but must be conducted according to 704(A) of the FD&C Act (21 USCS § 374), which requires that they are performed at a "reasonable time". Courts have held that any time the firm is open for business is a reasonable time for an inspection.
Other good-practice systems, along the same lines as GMP, exist:
Collectively, these and other good-practice requirements are referred to as "GxP" requirements, all of which follow similar philosophies. (Other examples include good agriculture practices, good guidance practices, and good tissue practices.) In the U.S., medical device manufacturers must follow what are called "quality system regulations" which are deliberately harmonized with ISO requirements, not cGMPs.