The bioequivalence study design recommendations for immediate-release solid oral dosage forms in the international pharmaceutical regulators programme participating regulators and organisations: differences and commonalities

Publication: Journal of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences


Bioequivalence (BE) studies are considered the standard for demonstrating that the performance of a generic drug product in the human body is sufficiently similar to that of its comparator product. The objective of this article is to describe the recommendations from participating Bioequivalence Working Group for Generics (BEWGG) members of the International Pharmaceutical Regulators Programme (IPRP) regarding the conduct and acceptance criteria for BE studies of immediate release solid oral dosage forms. A survey was conducted among BEWGG members regarding their BE recommendations and requirements related to study subjects, study design, sample size, single or multiple dose administration, study conditions (fasting or fed), analyte to be measured, selection of product strength, drug content, handling of endogenous substances, BE acceptance criteria, and additional design aspects. All members prefer conducting single dose cross-over designed studies in healthy subjects with a minimum of 12 subjects and utilizing the parent drug data to assess BE. However, differences emerged among the members when the drug’s pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics become more complex, such that the study design (e.g., fasting versus fed conditions) and BE acceptance criteria (e.g., highly variable drugs, narrow therapeutic index drugs) may be affected. The survey results and discussions were shared with the ICH M13 Expert Working Group (EWG) and played an important role in identifying and analyzing gaps during the harmonization process. The draft ICH M13A guideline developed by the M13 EWG was endorsed by ICH on 20 December 2022, under Step 2.

By Eduardo Agostinho Freitas Fernandes, Joy van Oudtshoorn, Andrew Tam, Liliana Carolina Arévalo González, Erwin Guzmán Aurela, Henrike Potthast, Katalina Mettke, Ryosuke Kuribayashi, Kohei Shimojo, Miho Kasuga, Lázaro Morales, Zulema Rodríguez, Ben Jones, Choongyul Ahn, Eunju Yun, So Hee Kim, Clare Rodrigues, Toh Tiong, Christopher Crane, Chantal Walther, Matthias S. Roost, Tzu-Ling Chen, Li-feng Hsu, April Braddy, Alfredo García Arieta, Ivana Abalos, Milly Divinsky, Abdulaziz Alsuwyeh, Bader Alzenaidy, Adel Alharf