From The Corner Lab - Blog Posts

Why is ISO 17025, and not just GMPs, Important to You?

Posted by Jim Menoutis on Mon, Mar 28, 2016 @ 10:58 AM

Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs), are the regulatory framework  mandated by law, and enforced by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  They encompass not only drug (21CFR 210-211), but also dietary supplements (21 CFR 111), pharmacy compounding (21CFR 216),  biologics (21CFR 600-680), medical devices (21CFR 820), and cosmetics.   cGMPs are defined as that part of quality assurance aimed at ensuring products are consistently produced and controlled implementing the quality standards appropriate for their intended use.

They provide systems that assure proper design, monitoring, and control of manufacturing processes and facilities. This includes the establishment of strong quality management systems, robust operating procedures, use of suitable quality raw materials, procedures for detecting and investigating quality deviations, and maintaining reliable laboratory testing capabilities.  It is important to note that cGMPs are minimum requirements.

ISO 17025, General Requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories, was first published in 1999 as Guide 25, by the International Standards Organization.  In 2005, it was updated as ISO/IEC 17025:2005.   In most major countries, ISO/IEC 17025 is the standard by which most labs must hold accreditation in order to be deemed technically competent. In many cases, suppliers and regulatory authorities will not accept test or calibration results from a laboratory that does not hold this accreditation.  The FDA  has issued a Draft Guidance for Industry, Submission of Laboratory Packages by Accredited Laboratories in 2009.This standard comprises five elements - Scope, Normative References, Terms and Definitions, Management Requirements, and Technical Requirements. It is the single most important International Standard governing laboratory quality systems.  Laboratories that are accredited to this International Standard have demonstrated that they have very robust quality systems, are technically competent, demonstrate the calibration and suitability of equipment, and are able to produce precise and accurate test data.

While there are many overlapping similarities between cGMPs and ISO 17025, there is also one significant difference. cGMPs are the minimum requirements mandated by law, and dictate what must be done, but not necessarily how to do it.   ISO 17025, on the other hand, is voluntary, not only dictating what must be done, but also providing the guidance of how to do it.  It is important to note that FDA operates its own laboratories according to ISO 17025, holding third party accreditation under this international standard, as well.   

So why is ISO 17025 important to you?   It helps determine which laboratory can deliver accurate and precise results.  A laboratory that has achieved ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accreditation has met the international standard of testing excellence, demonstrating technical competence, a robust quality system, precise and accurate tests, and suitably calibrated equipment. In fact, the ISO states, "Laboratory customers, regulatory authorities and accreditation bodies may also use ISO/IEC 17025:2005 in confirming or recognizing the competence of laboratories."  A company or vendor  that has implemented a quality system, incorporating both cGMPs and ISO 17025, is displaying a strong commitment to quality, and values the importance that quality plays in the research, development, and manufacturing processes. 

Quantex Laboratories maintains a robust quality system that complies with cGMPs, as well as GLPs. We are also ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accredited, holding the same accreditation scope, and accredited by the same ISO accreditation body  as many of the FDA’s own laboratories  This accomplishment is a tribute to both the robust quality systems, and the broad scope of capabilities  in place at Quantex Labs, as well as the superior technical competency of our staff.    We are also one of the very few labs, nationally, to hold accreditation for Elemental Impurities. Quantex is very proud of this record, and continues to remain committed to quality systems for the integrity of our data.

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Topics: cGMP, FDA, ISO, ISO 17025, Lab Accreditation