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Difference between Incidence and Deviation

Differentiation between an incidence and deviation when it occurs in pharmaceutical GMP manufacturing facility.
It causes a big confusion to understand the occurrence of incidence and deviation in pharmaceuticals. A huge number of pharmaceutical professionals get difficulties to differentiate the incidence and deviation when they occur in real.

When we have any written procedure like standard operating procedure, protocol, standard test procedure, BMR etc. and someone works against this, then it is called deviation. It means deviation from any written procedure that we have implemented.

QuestionsNow deviation can be of two different types:
A)  Planned Deviation B) Unplanned Deviation
Planned deviations are those deviations from the procedure that are planned and we know before they occur. For example calibration or validation is not carried out as per schedule due to delay for various reasons. In this case, we have to fill CAPA for the same.

In the case of unplanned deviation, the failure of the procedure, utility, material, equipment or any system occurs. We can consider it as any change from the previous or our written procedure. Unplanned deviations may be critical, major or minor. These can be categorized on their impact on product quality.
Critical deviations: Manufacturing instructions are not followed, wrong batch details are printed, SOPs or methods of testing not followed during analysis etc.
Major deviations: Line clearance is not taken from QA, physician sample wrongly printed with price, etc.
Minor deviations: Raw material is received in a damaged container, manometer readings in the sampling booth are crossed the action limits etc.

Incidence is any event that can affect our product quality or not but that is against the cGMP. For example, someone is found without gowning in the production area or any insect is found in granulation area. These may have the impact on product quality but not every time, sometimes it will not impact. These are the deviations from GMP but the difference is that these are not related to our manufacturing process. So these will not be categorized as deviations.

Some other examples of incidence: eating food in the production area, spillage of material on the floor, break down in any machine during processing, the mix-up of two batches, wrong material added in batch etc.
Note: You can write your views on this topic in the comment box.

Ankur Choudhary is India's first professional pharmaceutical blogger, author and founder of Pharmaceutical Guidelines, a widely-read pharmaceutical blog since 2008. Sign-up for the free email updates for your daily dose of pharmaceutical tips.
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Dhaval Patel said... on 4/10/13 08:35

example of incident: wrong material added in batch etc. it is incidence but it is include in deviation.because it due to the follow wrong

TheKannan321 said... on 4/10/13 09:41

Hi Concern,

What you gave definition for deviation is perfectly matching. But in case of unplanned deviation as per industrial standard there is no unpalnned deviation. If any failures like procedural gaps, Human errors,Instrumental errors are will be addressed through Incident only.

Nusrat Amir said... on 4/10/13 13:01

if we know in advance that we will be deviating from the approved procedure, this will be manage through temporary / permanent change request through change control system.

If we make a conscious decision to deviate the approved procedure during the process to save time, cost, resource etc... it will be a deviation.
Spillage of material, machine breakdown, fluctuation in the utility, malfunction of device etc... will be reported categorize under incidence

Ankur Choudhary said... on 4/10/13 14:42

I have given a clear cut difference between deviation and incidence.
Deviation is any change from written procedure and incidence is a unwritten event that is against GMP.
I think it is clear now.

Jai said... on 4/10/13 15:52

As per cGMP, the only term referred in the guidelines was "Deviations" whether it may be Planned or Unplanned.

Old Fox said... on 4/10/13 16:12

Mr. Ankur is 100% correct. In case of Planned Deviation, CAPA is not important, rather change control is a must. However, there could be any number or nature of incidents that may or may not require CAPA depending upon the impact due the incident. Can natural calamity like flood, tremor etc. be recorded as incidents?

bhagvat birajdar said... on 4/10/13 18:57

Incident X deviations
Lab incident is the Event which may or may not cause deviation(s).
Incident is an unexpected/unplanned happening of an event which does not have direct impact on the product or production activity.
Incident and deviation are different because incident is unknowingly & deviation is knowingly . both are may be Quality impacting or not

Nirmal said... on 6/10/13 11:57

Mr. Bhagvat is correct:
Any unexpected / unplanned event is called as incident. Incidents may also deviate the written instructions but if the incident is known than it should be handled through incident document and if incident is not known than it shall be handled through deviations

Victor Jagaraja said... on 12/1/14 09:07

Incident- unexpected thing when following procedure.
Deviation - deviating procedure to get expected thing.

cholan said... on 13/3/14 12:18

Incident is beyond our control like flood, earth quake, ceiling crack, leakage from facility floor etc..... Deviation is deviating the written procedure. Some company is raising Incident for Batch contamination!!! that's absolutely wrong!! May be SOP is not adequately laid down or wrong understanding by usre.

Naveen Kumar Sharma said... on 17/5/14 10:05

as you have given the example that if some is found without over gowning this is incident. But if there is SOP for gowning /de-gowning and some one found without over gowning. This will considers as deviation not incident


Siva Sahu said... on 17/5/14 11:40

Deviation is against the approved system, documents, parameters, GMP etc.. The Unplanned deviation is also can treat as incident.
Incident is an accidental work.. like spillage, after shifting the sieve found damage condition, at the time of compression the punch damaged etc...

Siva Sahu said... on 17/5/14 11:41

Deviation is against the approved system, documents, parameters, GMP etc.. The Unplanned deviation is also can treat as incident.
Incident is an accidental work.. like spillage, after shifting the sieve found damage condition, at the time of compression the punch damaged etc...

Pratik jakasania said... on 25/5/14 17:39

i can't understand about incidence. can you describe me briefly this differenence between deviation and incidence????

kallappa kalamadi said... on 27/11/14 15:06

Deviation is against the standard procedure which includes system, documents , process and also we can conclude that the unplanned deviation is like incident means both are vice versa

Daniel Ziegler said... on 14/1/15 08:53

Please I would like to know any regulation what can mention the definition of incidents and deviations.

namanaeswar said... on 5/7/15 16:23

dear ankur sir,
this blog is very uswful to me.if any incident happening at the time of process but the incident not affected on product quality but affect on equipment .so if any deviation requird for this case?

Ankur Choudhary said... on 5/7/15 16:28

@ namenaeswar it is not required to fill the deviation for this case. Equipment breakdown form is required to fill for the same.

Unknown said... on 18/12/15 21:40

If i am wrong, please correct me, Incidents are those which are out of human control and simply Deviation are the any departure from the written procedures or policies.

Vinay Dagar said... on 2/2/16 18:13

Hi guys,

Its going well deviations vs incidents, now perception should be clear as given by Mr. Ankur & explained by various participants. But what about non-conformances, deviations & incidents that has to be made clear.Its a best platform to discuss.

rajesh reddy said... on 17/8/16 21:59

As said manufacturing instructions are not followed under critical deviation, and wrong material addition in the batch under incident. can you brief about wrong material addition. (For example Material A to be added in the vessel first and B to be added after that. But in this case if B is added first and A added later.. will it come under incident or deviation.)

Bhagyaraj Ch said... on 13/5/17 16:31

As we know the simple deference between deviation and Incident , that is deviation categorized as departure from the approved instructions which are approved written procedures or GMP or regulatory systems. The incident simply called as the act or an event happens unexpectedly or unfortunately and ignorance, lack of training of the people.

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