Holistic Considerations in Optimizing a Sterile Product Package to Ensure Container Closure Integrity

PDA J Pharm Sci Technol. 2018 Jan-Feb;72(1):15-34. doi: 10.5731/pdajpst.2017.007658. Epub 2017 Oct 12.


A new major chapter dealing with container closure integrity was released by the United States Pharmacopeial Convention. Chapter <1207> provides a significant amount of education and guidance concerning test methodologies to prove that a system is integral and safe for use. The test method used is only one of the major considerations in approaching the challenge of proving an integral system. This paper takes a holistic review of all the major considerations needed in qualifying a new vial system for container closure integrity. There is substantial interplay among many aspects in the process of sealing a vial. This review helps to define major risks that need to be considered and mitigated and reinforces the need to understand the maximum allowable leakage limit that is acceptable for a specific drug application. A typical risk-based approach considers materials, test methods, process, people, environment, and equipment. Each of these aspects is considered in some detail along with a recommended process flow for building a best practice, science-based approach. This approach will inform decision making for evaluating the correct combination of components and assuring they are assembled and tested in an appropriate manner. This work, once completed, can be the basis for a vial system platform or specific drug application qualification.LAY ABSTRACT: Container closure integrity is a fundamental requirement of every sterile drug package. With recent upgrading of compendia standards and guidance around this issue, there is an opportunity to better define a best practice approach to a complicated subject. It is important to recognize that there is substantial interplay among the components of the system, the process of assembly, and the test methods that are used. This paper takes a holistic approach to discussing these issues and identifying the risks that must be considered in assuring an integral container over the shelf life of a drug product.

Keywords: CCI; Container closure integrity; Integral system; Leak rate; Leakage sealing optimization; Residual seal force; Seal integrity; Vial system.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Drug Contamination / prevention & control
  • Drug Packaging / standards*
  • Holistic Health*
  • Humans
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / standards
  • Sterilization / standards*
  • Technology, Pharmaceutical / methods
  • United States


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations