Bayesian statistical approaches to drug product variability assessment and release

Int J Pharm. 2022 Aug 25:624:122037. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2022.122037. Epub 2022 Jul 21.


The determination of the variability of critical dosage form attributes has been a challenge in establishing the quality of pharmaceutical products. During the development process knowledge is minimal. Consequently, ad hoc statistical tools such as hypothesis or significance tests, with calibrated decision error rates are often used in an effort to vet CQAs (Critical Quality Attributes) and keep their levels "between the curbs". As progress moves towards product launch, process and mechanistic understanding grows considerably and there are opportunities to leverage that knowledge for predictive modeling. Bayesian models offer a coherent strategy for integrating prior knowledge into both experimental design as well as predictive analysis for optimal risk-based decision making. This is because the Bayesian paradigm, unlike the frequentist paradigm, can assign probabilities to underlying states of nature that directly impact safety and efficacy such as the population distribution of tablet potencies or dissolution profiles in a batch. However, there are challenges and reluctance in switching to a predictive modeling quality framework once regulatory approval has been attained. This paper offers encouragement to make this switch. In this paper, we review a joint Long Island University - Purdue University (LIU-PU) FDA funded project whose purpose was to further integrate the concepts of this adaptive approach to lot release with the rationale and methods for data generation and curation and to extend the testing of this approach. We discuss the utility of the approach in product development. We consider the regulatory compliance implications, with examples, and establish a potential way forward toward implementation of this approach for both industry and regulatory stake-holders.

Keywords: Bayesian methods; In vitro dissolution; Inter-lot variability; Lot release; Pharmaceutical manufacturing; Unit dose uniformity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bayes Theorem*
  • Humans
  • Tablets


  • Tablets