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Quality Management (QM) Programme

These activities involve the General European OMCL Network only.


The quality management (QM) programme within the General European OMCL Network started in 1997 with a two-year pilot phase. A common approach for developing and implementing Quality Management systems (QMS) in all OMCLs of the Network had been agreed upon. This was especially important due to the increasing exchange of results and data (e.g. batch release of biologicals, market surveillance of centrally authorised products) among members. Since 1999, work in this area has intensified. It was decided to adopt a specific assistance and maintenance programme for QMS and to harmonise the quality management policies of the OMCLs. It was further agreed to refer to the ISO/IEC 17025 quality standard.


  • Mutual Joint Visits (MJVs)
    They are organised by the EDQM. These aim to advise and help OMCLs implement and/or improve their quality management systems.
  • Mutual Joint Audits (MJAs)
    MJAs of OMCLs are carried out by experts, from the Network, trained in Quality Management. These check that OMCLs quality management systems comply with the requirements laid down in ISO/IEC 17025, in the General European OMCL Network Quality Management Guidelines and in the European Pharmacopoeia. They take place on a routine basis.
  • Education Activities
    Education activities such as training visits and training courses educate OMCL staff in QM and/or on technical topics related to the implementation and improvement of OMCLs quality management systems.
  • Quality Management Guidelines
    They have been drafted by experts from the Network. They aim to support laboratories in implementing the ISO/IEC 17025 requirements, while taking into account the specific OMCL environment. From a legal point of view a guideline is not binding, but deviations from its content require a sound (and, if applicable, scientific based) justification.
  • Recommendation Documents
    They have been drafted by experts from the OMCL Network. Similar to the QM-Guidelines they shall support laboratories in implementing the ISO/IEC 17025 requirements. They provide guidance for OMCLs of the GEON or a specific network without binding character.

Following meetings with representatives of the European co-operation for accreditation (EA) and presentations given at meetings of the EA Laboratory Committee, the EDQM has been accepted as “Recognised Stakeholder” of the EA in 2013. This recognition will foster future co-operation, exchange of information and mutual acceptance of audit results. The EA now officially supports the performance of joint audits between National Accreditation bodies and EDQM/OMCL experts. The EA confirmed the use of the EDQM’s quality management guidelines in QMS audits of OMCLs by accreditation bodies.

In 2017 an EA-EDQM joint document has been published on the EA website: EA-INF/15:2017 Joint EA - EDQM Communication regarding cooperation when carrying out (joint) audits/assessments in Official Medicines Control Laboratories.

For a list of these guidelines, click HERE.

Also the members of the OMCL Network officially support the idea of joint audits and express this position in the paper “Complementary Mutual Joint Audits in OMCLs accredited against ISO/IEC 17025”.


Achievements in 2016

In 2016, 14 MJAs and 1 MJV were carried out at the OMCL sites and 1 MJA at the EDQM laboratory. Since the beginning of the QM Programme in December 1997, 145 MJAs, 51 MJVs and a total of 22 Training Visits/Tutorials have been carried out in the OMCL Network.

In 2016 the EDQM organized a Workshop on Computerised Systems to harmonize and share knowledge.

In 2016, one new guideline for “Qualification of Atomic Absorption and Atomic Emission Spectrometers” was adopted by the OMCL Network. The former guideline on “Archiving” has been replaced by two new documents, “Management of documents and records” and “Management of samples“.

The guidelines “Qualification of GC Equipment“, and “Qualification of automatic titrators” were revised and published. New recommendation documents for “Management of environmental conditions”, “Management of volumetric glassware”, and ”Interpretation of screening results for unknown peptides and proteins by mass spectrometry based methods” were adopted.

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