WHO Expert Committee on Specifications for Pharmaceutical Preparations - WHO Technical Report Series, No. 908 - Thirty-seventh Report
(2003; 148 pages) View the PDF document
Table of Contents
View the documentWHO Expert Committee on Specifications for Pharmaceutical Preparations
View the document1. Introduction
Open this folder and view contents2. General policy
Open this folder and view contents3. Quality control - specifications and tests
View the document4. Quality control - international reference materials
Open this folder and view contents5. Quality control - national laboratories
Open this folder and view contents6. Quality assurance - good manufacturing practices
Open this folder and view contents7. Quality assurance - inspection
Open this folder and view contents8. Quality assurance - distribution and trade-related
Open this folder and view contents9. Quality assurance - risk analysis
Open this folder and view contents10. Quality assurance - drug supply
Open this folder and view contents11. Quality assurance - storage
View the document12. International Nonproprietary Names (INNs) programme
Open this folder and view contents13. Miscellaneous
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentReferences
View the documentAnnex 1 Recommendations on risk of transmitting animal spongiform encephalopathy agents via medicinal products
View the documentAnnex 2 The International Pharmacopoeia: revised concepts and future perspectives
Open this folder and view contentsAnnex 3 Guidelines on Good Manufacturing Practices for radiopharmaceutical products
Open this folder and view contentsAnnex 4 Good Manufacturing Practices for pharmaceutical products: main principles
View the documentAnnex 5 Model certificate of Good Manufacturing Practices
View the documentAnnex 6 Guidance on Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP): inspection report
View the documentAnnex 7 Application of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) methodology to pharmaceuticals
Open this folder and view contentsAnnex 8 Procedure for assessing the acceptability, in principle, of pharmaceutical products for purchase by United Nations agencies
Close this folderAnnex 9 Guide to good storage practices for pharmaceuticals1
View the document1. Introduction
View the document2. Glossary
View the document3. Personnel
View the document4. Premises and facilities
View the document5. Storage requirements
View the document6. Returned goods
View the document7. Dispatch and transport
View the document8. Product recall
View the documentReferences
View the documentBibliography
View the documentAppendix Storage and labelling conditions2
View the documentBack cover

2. Glossary

The definitions given below of some of the terms used in this document take into account the terminology of current regulations and recommendations.

active pharmaceutical ingredient (API)

Any substance or mixture of substances intended to be used in the manufacture of a pharmaceutical dosage form and that, when used in the production of a drug, becomes an active ingredient of that drug. Such substances are intended to furnish pharmacological activity or other direct effect in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease, or to affect the structure and function of the body.


The undesired introduction of impurities of a chemical or microbiological nature, or of foreign matter, into or onto a starting material, or intermediate or finished product during production, sampling, packaging or repackaging, storage or transport.


Contamination of a starting material, intermediate product or finished product with another starting material or product during production.


A substance, other than the active ingredient, which has been appropriately evaluated for safety and is included in a drug delivery system to:

- aid in the processing of the drug delivery system during its manufacture;

- protect, support or enhance stability, bioavailability, or patient acceptability;

- assist in product identification; or

- enhance any other attribute of the overall safety and effectiveness of the drug during storage or use.

expiry date

The date given on the individual container (usually on the label) of a drug product up to and including which the product is expected to remain within specifications, if stored correctly. It is established for each batch by adding the shelf-life to the date of manufacture.


The action involving the selection of the correct label, with the required information, followed by line clearance and application of the label.


All operations of purchase of materials and products, production, quality control, release, storage and distribution of finished products, and the related controls.


A general term used to denote starting materials (active pharmaceutical ingredients and excipients), reagents, solvents, process aids, intermediates, packaging materials and labelling materials.

packaging material

Any material, including printed material, employed in the packaging of a pharmaceutical product, but excluding any outer packaging used for transportation or shipment. Packaging materials are referred to as primary or secondary according to whether or not they are intended to be in direct contact with the product.

pharmaceutical product

Any medicine intended for human use or veterinary product administered to food-producing animals, presented in its finished dosage form or as a starting material for use in such a dosage form, that is subject to control by pharmaceutical legislation in both the exporting state and the importing state.


All operations involved in the preparation of a pharmaceutical product, from receipt of materials, through processing, packaging and repackaging, labelling and relabelling, to completion of the finished product.

retest date

The date when a material should be re-examined to ensure that it is still suitable for use.


The storing of pharmaceutical products and materials up to their point of use.


A person providing pharmaceutical products and materials on request. Suppliers may be agents, brokers, distributors, manufacturers or traders. Where possible, suppliers should be authorized by a competent authority.

to previous section
to next section
The WHO Essential Medicines and Health Products Information Portal was designed and is maintained by Human Info NGO. Last updated: December 6, 2017