In the experimental (non-clinical) research arena, the phrase good laboratory practice or GLP specifically refers to a quality system of management controls for research laboratories and organizations to try to ensure the uniformity, consistency, reliability, reproducibility, quality, and integrity of chemical (including pharmaceuticals) non-clinical safety tests; from physio-chemical properties through acute to chronic toxicity tests.
GLP was instituted following cases of animal test fraud by pharmaceutical and industrial chemical (mainly pesticide) manufacturers. Industrial BioTest Labs (IBT) was the most notable case, where thousands of safety tests for chemical manufacturers were falsely claimed to have been performed or were so poor that police investigators could not piece together what work had been done...even though IBT superficially delivered the test results their contracts with the manufacturers specified.
The original GLP regulatory mandate was promulgated in 1978 by US-FDA (though they may have got it from the New Zealand medicines agency) and published in the Federal Register 43 FR 59985-60020. It was followed a few years later by US-EPA, and (as outlined in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Principles of GLP in 1992) the OECD has since help promulgate it to many countries, helping them place it into their national regulations.
GLP applies to non-clinical studies conducted for the assessment of the safety or efficacy of chemicals (including pharmaceuticals) to man, animals and the environment. An internationally recognized definition of GLP can be found on the website for the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency-UK which defines GLP as:
- Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) embodies a set of principles that provides a framework within which laboratory studies are planned, performed, monitored, recorded, reported and archived. These studies are undertaken to generate data by which the hazards and risks to users, consumers and third parties, including the environment, can be assessed for pharmaceuticals (only preclinical studies), agrochemicals, cosmetics, food additives, feed additives and contaminants, novel foods, biocides, detergents etc.... GLP helps assure regulatory authorities that the data submitted are a true reflection of the results obtained during the study and can therefore be relied upon when making risk/safety assessments.
GLP, a data quality system, should not be confused with standards for laboratory safety - appropriate gloves, glasses & clothing to handle lab materials safely.
Read more about Good Laboratory Practice: GLP and The OECD, OECD Guidelines For The Testing of Chemicals, GLP and The USFDA, GLP and The European Union, GLP and Non-OECD Member-countries, Criticism of GLP, Klimisch Score, GLP and Automated Systems
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