Over the last two decades, pharmaceutical industry has seen tremendous growth in the form of technological advancements and drug delivery system innovations. However, such innovations have increased quality assurance challenges for drug manufactures. For this reason, drug product manufacturers give at most importance to their quality control procedures as well as package integrity tests. All packaging forms, whether pouches constructed of porous or nonporous material, rigid thermoformed trays with Tyvek or film lids, bottles with induction-welded seals, or blister packs, need verification that their sterile-barrier characteristics are not compromised. Previously, only sterility testing was conducted on pharmaceutical packaging. However, when it was realized that sterility testing alone is not sufficient to hold the integrity of the medical products, the US FDA published Guidance for Industry for Submission Documentation for Sterilization Process Validation in Applications for Human and Veterinary Drug Products. This emphasized the importance of verification of microbial barrier properties of a pharmaceutical product package (i.e., CCI).
Relevance of CCIT in pharmaceutical package testing
Container Closure Integrity Testing is an assay to evaluate whether container closure systems can maintain sterile barriers against potential damage. Even a minute defect in the container can cause external elements to enter the product, thereby reducing its shelf life. Common threats that can pass through a defected container closure system include microorganisms, reactive gases, and other substances. Considering the ability of such threat to deteriorate product quality, undertaking appropriate CCI tests are beyond crucial. However, it should be noted that CCI is not a one-time process, rather an integral and comprehensive approach. It is evaluated throughout the manufacturing lifecycle of a sterile drug product -from primary package development until the products are dispatched.
Container closure systems are made up of primary packaging components and secondary packaging components. Components like vials or syringes that are in direct contact with the product are called primary packaging components. Although there are multiple CCI techniques available in the market today, regulatory guidelines have broadly classified methods into probabilistic and deterministic test methods. Under a probabilistic test method, results are generated through a series of events, each with a respective probability distribution. Thus, the accuracy of the results cannot be assured. In contrast to a probabilistic method, deterministic test methods assure quantitative results with higher level of accuracy and reliability. The United States Pharmacopeia in 2016 issued new guidelines stating that deterministic methods are preferred over probabilistic test methods. Container closure integrity testing can be performed in many different ways. All the testing methods have pros and cons. Given below is a list of non-destructive Container Closure Integrity test methods:
- Airborne Ultrasound technology
- Vacuum Decay technology
- Microcurrent HVLD technology
- Helium Leak Detection
- Pressure Decay leak testing
- Force Decay leak testing
pharmaceutical package testing, container closure integrity testing, Vacuum Decay Technology, Airborne Ultrasound technology