Sterility of Antiseptic Products:
FDA Investigates, Deliberates on Potential Recommendations
In light of a number of high-profile recalls of contaminated alcohol prep products in the last several years, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently weighing whether or not to require sterility of patient skin prep products, specifically items such as alcohol prep pads used for injections, but it is not ruling out other surgical prep products.
On Dec. 12, 2012, the FDA held a hearing to receive expert testimony and public comment on how to address microbial contamination of these patient preoperative skin preparation drug products. It is a step in the ongoing investigational process that the agency is undertaking to determine issues related to sterility impacted by manufacturing processes.
An FDA spokesperson says that the panel members and FDA’s working group have received the submissions from the hearing and have been deliberating. FDA’s working group will be ready to make new recommendations in the coming months. The spokesperson adds that FDA’s working group has been soliciting clinician feedback from the FDA’s federal partners and other public health organizations, and that the agency will be ready to make new recommendations in the coming months.
Currently, patient preoperative skin preparations are not required to be sterile, since bacteria can contaminate these products at the time of manufacture or during product use. But because contaminated patient preoperative skin preparations have been associated with clinical infections and adverse outcomes, the FDA is exploring certain scientific and product-use issues related to patient preoperative skin preparations.
Patient preoperative skin preparations are over-the-counter (OTC) topical antiseptic drug products used to reduce the number of bacteria on the skin prior to medical procedures or injections. Although they are marketed predominantly to healthcare facilities, the use of these products extends beyond the healthcare facility setting.