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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

CFR - Code of Federal Regulations Title 21

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The information on this page is current as of April 1 2015.

For the most up-to-date version of CFR Title 21, go to the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (eCFR).

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Help | More About 21CFR
[Code of Federal Regulations]
[Title 21, Volume 5]
[Revised as of April 1, 2015]
[CITE: 21CFR320.24]



TITLE 21--FOOD AND DRUGS
CHAPTER I--FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
SUBCHAPTER D--DRUGS FOR HUMAN USE

PART 320 -- BIOAVAILABILITY AND BIOEQUIVALENCE REQUIREMENTS

Subpart B--Procedures for Determining the Bioavailability or Bioequivalence of Drug Products

Sec. 320.24 Types of evidence to measure bioavailability or establish bioequivalence.

(a) Bioavailability may be measured or bioequivalence may be demonstrated by several in vivo and in vitro methods. FDA may require in vivo or in vitro testing, or both, to measure the bioavailability of a drug product or establish the bioequivalence of specific drug products. Information on bioequivalence requirements for specific products is included in the current edition of FDA's publication "Approved Drug Products with Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations" and any current supplement to the publication. The selection of the method used to meet an in vivo or in vitro testing requirement depends upon the purpose of the study, the analytical methods available, and the nature of the drug product. Applicants shall conduct bioavailability and bioequivalence testing using the most accurate, sensitive, and reproducible approach available among those set forth in paragraph (b) of this section. The method used must be capable of measuring bioavailability or establishing bioequivalence, as appropriate, for the product being tested.

(b) The following in vivo and in vitro approaches, in descending order of accuracy, sensitivity, and reproducibility, are acceptable for determining the bioavailability or bioequivalence of a drug product.

(1)(i) An in vivo test in humans in which the concentration of the active ingredient or active moiety, and, when appropriate, its active metabolite(s), in whole blood, plasma, serum, or other appropriate biological fluid is measured as a function of time. This approach is particularly applicable to dosage forms intended to deliver the active moiety to the bloodstream for systemic distribution within the body; or

(ii) An in vitro test that has been correlated with and is predictive of human in vivo bioavailability data; or

(2) An in vivo test in humans in which the urinary excretion of the active moiety, and, when appropriate, its active metabolite(s), are measured as a function of time. The intervals at which measurements are taken should ordinarily be as short as possible so that the measure of the rate of elimination is as accurate as possible. Depending on the nature of the drug product, this approach may be applicable to the category of dosage forms described in paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section. This method is not appropriate where urinary excretion is not a significant mechanism of elimination.

(3) An in vivo test in humans in which an appropriate acute pharmacological effect of the active moiety, and, when appropriate, its active metabolite(s), are measured as a function of time if such effect can be measured with sufficient accuracy, sensitivity, and reproducibility. This approach is applicable to the category of dosage forms described in paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section only when appropriate methods are not available for measurement of the concentration of the moiety, and, when appropriate, its active metabolite(s), in biological fluids or excretory products but a method is available for the measurement of an appropriate acute pharmacological effect. This approach may be particularly applicable to dosage forms that are not intended to deliver the active moiety to the bloodstream for systemic distribution.

(4) Well-controlled clinical trials that establish the safety and effectiveness of the drug product, for purposes of measuring bioavailability, or appropriately designed comparative clinical trials, for purposes of demonstrating bioequivalence. This approach is the least accurate, sensitive, and reproducible of the general approaches for measuring bioavailability or demonstrating bioequivalence. For dosage forms intended to deliver the active moiety to the bloodstream for systemic distribution, this approach may be considered acceptable only when analytical methods cannot be developed to permit use of one of the approaches outlined in paragraphs (b)(1)(i) and (b)(2) of this section, when the approaches described in paragraphs (b)(1)(ii), (b)(1)(iii), and (b)(3) of this section are not available. This approach may also be considered sufficiently accurate for measuring bioavailability or demonstrating bioequivalence of dosage forms intended to deliver the active moiety locally, e.g., topical preparations for the skin, eye, and mucous membranes; oral dosage forms not intended to be absorbed, e.g., an antacid or radiopaque medium; and bronchodilators administered by inhalation if the onset and duration of pharmacological activity are defined.

(5) A currently available in vitro test acceptable to FDA (usually a dissolution rate test) that ensures human in vivo bioavailability.

(6) Any other approach deemed adequate by FDA to measure bioavailability or establish bioequivalence.

(c) FDA may, notwithstanding prior requirements for measuring bioavailability or establishing bioequivalence, require in vivo testing in humans of a product at any time if the agency has evidence that the product:

(1) May not produce therapeutic effects comparable to a pharmaceutical equivalent or alternative with which it is intended to be used interchangeably;

(2) May not be bioequivalent to a pharmaceutical equivalent or alternative with which it is intended to be used interchangeably; or

(3) Has greater than anticipated potential toxicity related to pharmacokinetic or other characteristics.

[57 FR 17999, Apr. 28, 1992; 57 FR 29354, July 1, 1992, as amended at 67 FR 77673, Dec. 19, 2002]

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