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Regulatory Affairs sit at the center of an industry like pharmaceuticals. Given the importance this industry and the products its manufactures have on the health of human beings; it is imperative that there should be regulations in the industry at every stage of the process of manufacturing and marketing of pharmaceuticals.
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The primary aim of Pharmaceutical Regulatory Affairs is to ensure compliance with regulations that apply to every stage and process of the manufacturing and subsequent activities with the appropriate laws and regulations that apply to the industry.
Pharmaceutical Regulatory Affairs, like Rome, was not built in a day. The earliest attempts at making an activity or profession like Regulatory Affairs a discipline in itself can be traced to at least a century. The Diphtheria Epidemic of 1902 and a few other continental and global pharmaceutical disasters in subsequent years, such as the vaccine tragedy, sulfanilamide and thalidomide events made the authorities realize the need for framing initiatives to check the occurrence of such events. Pharmaceutical Regulatory Affairs can be said to have its origins in these events.
Essentially, Pharmaceutical Regulatory Affairs is about providing direction and focus to the strategy, tactics and operations aspects of the industry. It can be termed as a scientific system of surveillance. Pharmaceutical Regulatory Affairs concerns itself with every activity from start to finish and puts regulations in place to ensure that each activity is technically correctly carried out in accordance with these regulations and is in tune with sound scientific principles and practices.
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The important point to note about Pharmaceutical Regulatory Affairs is that it deals with every stage of production, starting with procurement of the raw materials or molecules needed for developing the drug, the clinical trial process, the manufacturing process, the packaging, the marketing and even post-consumption of the product by patients, ensuring that along every step, scientific methods and best practices are adhered to and are in accordance with rules, regulations and requirements set out by the regulatory authorities.
In most cases, it is not only one regulatory body whose regulations and requirements need to be adhered to. When a pharmaceutical product has to be marketed globally, it has to meet the regulatory requirements of all the countries or markets in which it is being sold, individually, unless the rule specifies otherwise.
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In the process of working on all these, the Pharmaceutical Regulatory Affairs profession entails having to take steps to see to it that the product is in some way different from what already exists in the market. All these make Pharmaceutical Regulatory Affairs a challenging profession.
This being the case, Pharmaceutical Regulatory Affairs professionals have their own clearly defined roles on what they need to do in order to ensure that they carry out these activities.