In a setback to Indian pharmaceutical giant Ranbaxy, the US has prohibited the company from producing and distributing drugs for the American market from its Toansa facility in Punjab.
In an order, the Food and Drug Administration yesterday prohibited Ranbaxy from distributing in the US the drugs manufactured using active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) in Toansa, including drugs made by Ranbaxy's Ohm Laboratories facility in New Jersey.
Ranbaxy has also been prohibited from manufacturing API at its Toansa facility for FDA-regulated drug products; exporting API from Toansa to the US for any purpose; and providing API from Toansa to other companies, including other Ranbaxy facilities, making products for American consumers.
"We are taking swift action to prevent substandard quality products from reaching US consumers," said Carol Bennett, acting director of the Office of Compliance in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
"The FDA is committed to ensuring that the drugs American consumers receive – no matter where they are produced – meet quality standards and are safe and effective," he said.
In a statement, FDA said it exercised its authority under a provision in the consent decree which permits the agency to extend the decree's terms to any Ranbaxy-owned or operated facility if an FDA inspection finds the facility in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act or FDA regulations, including CGMP requirements.
CGMP requirements serve as the primary regulatory safeguard over drug manufacturing and must be followed by companies to ensure manufacturing quality.
The FDA also acted under a separate provision in the decree which permits the agency to order additional corrective actions that FDA determines are necessary to achieve compliance with the law or the decree, it said.
The FDA's inspection of the Toansa facility, which concluded on January 11, 2014, identified significant CGMP violations, it said.
These included Toansa staff retesting raw materials, intermediate drug products, and finished API after those items failed analytical testing and specifications, in order to produce acceptable findings, and subsequently not reporting or investigating these failures.
According to the statement, the agency is evaluating potential drug shortage issues that may result from this action.
If the FDA determines that a medically necessary drug is in shortage or at risk of shortage, the FDA may modify this order to preserve patient access to drugs manufactured under controls that are sufficient to assure quality, safety and effectiveness.
As a result of this action, Ranbaxy is now prohibited from manufacturing API for FDA-regulated drugs at the Toansa facility and from introducing API from that facility into interstate commerce, including into the United States, until the firm's methods and controls used to manufacture drugs at the Toansa facility are established, operated and administered in compliance with CGMP.
Ranbaxy is required to hire a third-party expert to thoroughly inspect the Toansa facility and certify to the FDA that the facility and its methods and controls are adequate to ensure continuous compliance with CGMP.
Ranbaxy will not be permitted to resume manufacturing and distributing API for FDA-regulated drugs from the Toansa facility until the agency is satisfied that Ranbaxy has addressed its manufacturing quality issues at that facility.