The recommendations in this guidance apply broadly to the development of drug and biologic products. Accordingly, this guidance is intended for sponsors of investigational new drug applications (INDs); applicants of new drug applications (NDAs), biologics licensing applications (BLAs), abbreviated new drug applications (ANDAs);  and manufacturers of prescription drugs marketed without an approved application or over-the-counter (OTC) monograph drugs. This guidance provides a set of principles for using a systems approach to minimize medication errors relating to product design and container closure design and thus enhance patient safety.

The recommendations in this guidance document are intended to provide best practices on how to improve the drug product and container closure design for all prescription and nonprescription drugs and biologic products regulated by the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER), which are referred to collectively in this guidance as products.  The guidance also provides examples of product designs that have resulted in postmarketing medication errors. Manymedication errors can be avoided at the design stage by drawing on lessons learned from past medication errors and by conducting proactive risk assessments before marketing.

This guidance does not describe how to conduct, document, and submit risk assessments, or how such assessments, if conducted, will be evaluated by the Agency.

This guidance, which focuses on minimizing risks associated with the design of the drug product and its container closure system, is the first in a series of three planned guidances to minimize or eliminate hazards contributing to medication errors at the product design stage. The second guidance focuses on minimizing risks associated with the design of drug product container labels and carton labeling, and the third focuses on minimizing risks when developing and selecting proposed proprietary names.

Posted on the FDA website on 11 April 2016