GMP Audit of Pharma Facility: Understanding International Standards ISO and GMP, and How Auditors Rate Sites

Points for GMP AUDIT of Pharma Facility use international standards ISO, GMP How to rate site by Auditors give the rating bases


12/13/20233 min read

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In the pharmaceutical industry, maintaining high-quality standards is of utmost importance to ensure the safety and efficacy of drugs. Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) audits play a crucial role in assessing pharmaceutical facilities and ensuring compliance with international standards. This article will delve into the process of conducting a GMP audit, the international standards involved, and how auditors rate sites based on their findings.

Understanding GMP and ISO

GMP refers to the set of guidelines and regulations that ensure pharmaceutical products are consistently produced and controlled according to quality standards. These guidelines cover various aspects of manufacturing, including facilities, equipment, personnel, documentation, and quality control.

On the other hand, ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is an independent, non-governmental international organization that develops and publishes standards to ensure the quality, safety, and efficiency of products and services. ISO has developed several standards related to pharmaceutical manufacturing, including ISO 9001 (Quality Management System) and ISO 13485 (Medical Devices).

The GMP Audit Process

The GMP audit process involves a thorough assessment of a pharmaceutical facility's compliance with GMP guidelines and international standards. This process is typically conducted by trained auditors who have in-depth knowledge of the industry and the applicable regulations.

During the audit, the auditors review various aspects of the facility, including:

  • Facility and equipment: This includes assessing the cleanliness, maintenance, and suitability of the manufacturing areas and equipment.
  • Personnel: Auditors evaluate the training, qualifications, and hygiene practices of the personnel involved in manufacturing and quality control.
  • Documentation and record-keeping: The auditors scrutinize the documentation practices, including batch records, standard operating procedures (SOPs), and quality control records.
  • Quality control: This involves reviewing the processes and procedures in place to ensure the quality and integrity of the final product.
  • Supplier management: Auditors assess the facility's processes for selecting, qualifying, and monitoring suppliers of raw materials and components.

Rating a Site Based on Audit Findings

After conducting the GMP audit, the auditors assign a rating to the site based on their findings. The rating system can vary depending on the auditing organization, but it generally follows a similar framework. Here are some common rating bases used by auditors:


The compliance rating reflects the extent to which the facility adheres to GMP guidelines and international standards. It considers factors such as the presence of documented procedures, adherence to those procedures, and the overall quality management system in place.

The auditors assess whether the facility has implemented and documented adequate procedures for each aspect of GMP, such as cleaning, equipment maintenance, personnel training, and quality control. They also evaluate the facility's ability to consistently follow these procedures and maintain compliance over time.

Observations and Non-Conformances

During the audit, the auditors may identify observations and non-conformances, which are areas where the facility deviates from the required standards. These can range from minor issues, such as incomplete documentation, to major concerns, such as critical deviations in manufacturing processes.

The auditors document these observations and non-conformances and assign a severity level to each. The severity level indicates the potential impact on product quality and patient safety. The facility's response and corrective actions to address these observations and non-conformances are also taken into account when determining the final rating.

Risk Assessment

Risk assessment is an integral part of the audit process. Auditors evaluate the facility's risk management practices, including the identification, assessment, and mitigation of risks associated with manufacturing processes and product quality.

The auditors consider factors such as the facility's understanding of potential risks, the effectiveness of risk mitigation measures, and the level of control over critical processes. A comprehensive risk assessment demonstrates the facility's commitment to ensuring product quality and patient safety.

Continuous Improvement

The auditors also assess the facility's commitment to continuous improvement. This includes evaluating the facility's implementation of corrective and preventive actions, as well as its ability to learn from past mistakes and make necessary improvements.

The auditors consider whether the facility has a robust system in place for identifying and addressing issues, monitoring performance indicators, and implementing changes based on lessons learned. A proactive approach to continuous improvement indicates a commitment to maintaining high-quality standards over time.


GMP audits are essential for ensuring the quality and safety of pharmaceutical products. By following international standards such as ISO and conducting thorough audits, pharmaceutical facilities can identify areas of improvement and maintain compliance with GMP guidelines. The rating assigned by auditors reflects the facility's adherence to these standards, its ability to address non-conformances, and its commitment to continuous improvement. By striving for excellence in GMP compliance, pharmaceutical facilities can contribute to the overall quality and integrity of the industry.