Maintaining product safety and quality during distribution is important in the pharmaceutical industry. Pharmaceutical companies demonstrate their commitment to good distribution practices and quality in every aspect of their service through the certification of Good Distribution Practices (GDP) for Pharmaceuticals. GDP, a quality system for warehouses and distribution centers focused on medicines, guarantees adherence to globally recognized regulations, ensuring the highest compliance with standards. Regulating how pharmaceutical products are stored, transported, and handled through good distribution practices ensures the quality of these products. These regulations mandate that distributors of pharmaceutical products align their operations with the prescribed standards. By implementing this scheme, consistent quality management systems are established throughout the entire supply chain, encompassing the delivery of raw materials to manufacturing plants and the shipment of finished drugs to end users. The most effective approach to confirming alignment with good distribution practices guidelines in your quality management system is through an independent assessment that evaluates compliance against international GDP requirements.



At CertPro, we recognize the importance of adhering to Good Distribution Practice (GDP) guidelines and the advantages of achieving GDP certification for organizations aiming to improve their distribution processes. We provide comprehensive assistance to organizations pursuing GDP certification. Our team of experts will support you throughout the certification journey, ensuring that your distribution practices align with the latest GDP standards. We will work closely with your team to develop and implement a customized GDP compliance framework that meets your unique requirements and industry regulations.


CertPro is a trusted and dependable partner for Good Distribution Practice (GDP) certification and auditing services. With our significant expertise spanning nearly a decade, we possess a comprehensive understanding of the intricacies involved in distribution management. Here are several compelling reasons why CertPro is the ideal choice for your GDP certification requirements:

                Factors CertPro Advantage
               Time to Certification 4x faster than traditional approaches
               Price Competitive rates with flexible options
               Process Streamlined and efficient methodology
               Expertise 10+ years of industry experience


When it comes to Good Distribution Practice (GDP) certification, the overall cost is an important consideration, as it encompasses multiple factors that contribute to expenses. At CertPro, we understand the importance of cost-effectiveness and strive to provide tailored and affordable solutions to meet your organization’s GDP requirements. Here’s an overview of our cost-effective approach to GDP certification:

No. of employees Timeline Cost (approx.)
1 – 25 4 weeks 2500 USD
25-100 6 weeks 3500 USD
100-250 6-8 weeks 5000 USD
250 plus 8 weeks Custom plans


In this context, the storage and transport of finished medicinal products and active ingredients constitute the focus of Good Distribution Practices (GDP). It is crucial to ensure manufacturer quality throughout the entire supply chain. Even small fluctuations in temperature and humidity can impact the effectiveness and lifespan of medicines. Additionally, pharmaceuticals, being valuable commodities, must be safeguarded against theft and the introduction of counterfeit drugs into the supply chain.

GDP certification covers and evaluates various aspects of the product lifecycle of healthcare products, specifically human pharmaceuticals and active ingredients, with a specific emphasis on storage and transportation activities. During a GDP compliance audit, evaluate the cumulative requirements or measures in the distribution chain to ensure the maintenance of the quality and integrity of pharmaceuticals. 

According to the EMA (European Medicines Agency), Good distribution practice (GDP) establishes the minimum standards that a wholesale distributor must meet to ensure the continuous maintenance of the quality and integrity of medicines throughout the supply chain.

Compliance with GDP guarantees that:

  • Medicines in the supply chain adhere to European Union (EU) legislation.
  • Medicines are stored under appropriate conditions at all times, including during transportation.
  • Contamination by other products or cross-contamination is prevented.
  • An adequate turnover of stored medicines is maintained.
  • The correct products reach the intended recipients within a satisfactory timeframe.


Maintaining the quality, integrity, and safety of pharmaceutical products throughout the entire distribution process is essential, and the Key principle of GDP certification plays a crucial role. The following principles are the foundation of GDP certification.

Quality Assurance:  Good distribution practices actively incorporate quality assurance measures to ensure the highest quality of pharmaceutical products. These measures include testing products for potency and purity, conducting stability testing, and maintaining comprehensive product records.

GMP Compliance: Good distribution practices should ensure compliance with good manufacturing practices (GMPs). GMP compliance is essential in the pharmaceutical industry as it ensures the safety and effectiveness of products.

Temperature Control: Controlling the temperature of pharmaceutical products should be encompassed within good distribution practices. Temperature control is essential to preserving the quality and efficacy of medications during storage and transportation.

Proper Handling: Including measures to ensure the Proper handling of pharmaceutical products is necessary for good distribution practices. It prevents damage to medications and confirms that they are maintained at the proper temperature.

Transportation Guidelines: Good distribution practices should include guidelines for the safe and secure transportation of pharmaceutical products. These guidelines may encompass aspects such as using suitable packaging and ensuring proper labeling for transport.

Principels of GDP Practices


To attain GDP certification, organizations must demonstrate adherence to good distribution practices, ensuring the delivery of high-quality products to customers. Here are several steps to obtaining GDP certification:

Initial Consultation and Goal Definition

During this phase, we engage in discussions to understand your company’s specific requirements and certification objectives. Through this collaborative process, we work together to define your goals for GDP certification. Using the insights gained, we provide a customized offer that aligns with your unique needs, ensuring a tailored approach to the certification process.

Pre-audit and Project Planning for Audit

These are Crucial steps in preparing for the audit. Project planning meetings coordinate audits for sites or departments, while the pre-audit phase identifies strengths and areas for improvement in advance. It allows proactive measures before the Main audit.

Stage 1 and Stage 2 Audits

During the certification audit, our auditors thoroughly assess your processes and methods, including those of your supply chain partners. The focus is on temperature control, covering aspects such as cold storage facilities, sensor technology, mapping, monitoring, process safety, temperature documentation, and emergency protocols. Furthermore, the auditors evaluate the security measures to prevent theft or product substitution. In a final meeting, share the audit result and collaboratively develop action plans to address any identified areas for improvement, if necessary.

System Evaluation

Following the GDP audit, our independent certification board evaluates the results. If the organization meets all the requirements, the certification board awards them the GDP certificate. This step ensures a comprehensive assessment of compliance with the necessary standards and validates the organization’s commitment to good distribution practices.

Surveillance Audits and Recertification

During the surveillance audits, essential components of the system undergo annual on-site re-audits to identify areas for further improvement. Additionally, recertification is conducted before the expiration of the GDP certificate to ensure ongoing compliance and validate the organization’s commitment to maintaining high standards.


Adhering to the requirements outlined in the EU Guideline for Good Distribution Practice ensures the proper handling, storage, and distribution of pharmaceutical products, maintaining their quality and integrity. The guideline covers various areas of the value chain, encompassing specific requirements for different aspects of the distribution process.

Quality Management

GDP certification requirements include having a quality system that demonstrates compliance with quality standards. This system should encompass organizational structure, procedures, resources, and actions with a documented quality policy and authorized procurement and release procedures. Regular reviews and revisions are conducted based on risk assessments to ensure continuous improvement.


It requires the appointment of a responsible person who implements and maintains the quality system. This person oversees the GDP training program, which covers product security, identification, and detection of falsified medicines. The distributor is responsible for maintaining records of all GDP training and conducting regular assessments to evaluate its effectiveness in promoting and upholding good distribution practices.

Premises and Equipment

The premises and equipment requirements for GDP include:

  • Secure and structurally sound storage areas with sufficient capacity
  • Adequate lighting and prevention of unauthorized access
  • Segregated areas for different pharmaceutical products
  • Design and maintenance of storage areas for proper conditions and cleanliness 
  • Regular cleaning, pest control, and proper sampling procedures
  • Weather protection and cleaning provisions for receiving and dispatching bays
  • Contamination prevention during handling and storage
  • “First expiry/first out” (FEFO) principle for products with expiration dates
  • Separation of broken or damaged items
  • Dedicated areas with safety measures for hazardous or sensitive products


In GDP, documentation requirements encompass clear titles, nature, and purposes, approval by an authorized person, authorized changes, and adherence to specified document retention periods set by national or regional authorities.


The requirements of GDP regarding operations include proper handling, storage, and transportation of pharmaceutical products, maintaining accurate records, implementing quality risk management principles, and ensuring appropriate measures for product security and identification.

Complaints, Returns, and Recalls

For complaints, there are two categories: quality-related and distribution-related. The wholesaler reports quality complaints to the manufacturer and investigates distribution complaints thoroughly. Returns undergo assessment based on product nature, storage conditions, and condition, except for stolen products. Recalls involve notifying the manufacturer, regulatory authorities, and customers, with progress recorded in a final reconciliation report.

Outsourced or Contracted activities

Contract activities in GDP involve authorized parties performing distribution-related tasks with written consent. Contracts define responsibilities, including adherence to GDP principles and measures to prevent the entry of counterfeit products. All contract acceptors must comply with GDP requirements. Subcontracting may be allowed with written approval, subject to authorization. Regular audits of contract acceptors are required.


Self-inspection is an integral part of the quality system at GDP. They monitor compliance, identify areas for improvement, and facilitate corrective and preventive measures. Self-inspections conducted by a competent person result in thorough records of observations and suggested corrective actions. Management ensures effective follow-up and evaluation of inspection reports.


In transportation, the wholesaler verifies the validity of the delivery order or has a documented replenishment plan. Medicines are labeled and placed in shipping containers with handling and storage instructions. The wholesaler is responsible for safeguarding medicines from damage, contamination, and theft during transit. Vehicle operators must promptly report any deviations to the wholesaler and the recipient.

Special Regulations for Intermediaries

There are specific requirements imposed on entities involved in the distribution of pharmaceutical products to ensure compliance with good distribution practices and maintain product integrity and safety throughout the supply chain.

Requirements of GDP Certification


GDP certification encompasses good distribution practices and brings numerous advantages to the pharmaceutical industry. These benefits include:

Ensuring the Quality of Pharmaceutical Products

Good Distribution Practice (GDP) plays a vital role in maintaining the quality of pharmaceutical products by regulating their storage, transportation, and handling. These guidelines are essential in the pharmaceutical industry as they safeguard patients by guaranteeing access to safe and effective medications.

Maintaining GDP Certification for Quality Assurance

Maintaining GDP certification requires steadfast adherence to good distribution practices. By maintaining compliance, companies assure  customers that their products consistently meet the highest quality standards.

Empowering Companies Through Training

GDP training holds crucial significance as it equips companies with the necessary knowledge of good distribution practices, enabling them to comply with regulatory requirements. Moreover, this training empowers companies with the expertise to obtain and sustain GDP certification, ensuring continued adherence to industry standards.

Patients Protection

It protects patients from bad distribution practices, which ensure that medications are appropriately stored, transported, and handled to preserve their quality and effectiveness. These guidelines safeguard patients and guarantee the provision of safe and effective Medications.

Enhancing Product Quality

GDP actively contributes to the production of quality products by regulating the storage, transportation, and handling of pharmaceutical products. These guidelines actively ensure the maintenance of medications at the appropriate temperature,  prevent damage during transport, and promote proper handling to preserve their quality.

Higher Sales Volumes

Good distribution practice actively contributes to higher sales volumes by assuring customers that the products they receive are of the highest quality. When customers actively trust a company to provide safe and effective medications, they actively choose to purchase these products, resulting in increased sales.


GDP certification is available to various entities involved in the pharmaceutical supply chain. It includes pharmaceutical manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, and logistics providers. Organizations involved in the storage, transportation, and distribution of pharmaceutical items are eligible for GDP accreditation. The certification is not limited to specific company sizes or geographical locations. Whether it’s a small-scale distributor or a multinational logistics company, even if the organization meets the required standards and confirms compliance with the guidelines outlined by regulatory authorities or certification bodies, they are eligible to seek GDP certification. Achieving GDP certification showcases the organization’s commitment to ensuring the quality and integrity of pharmaceutical products throughout the distribution process.


The cost of GDP certification can vary based on factors such as the certification body, organization size and complexity, and the scope of the certification process. It typically includes application fees, assessment fees, documentation reviews, on-site audits, and ongoing surveillance activities. Additional expenses may arise from necessary improvements or corrective actions identified during the certification process. It’s essential to recognize that GDP certification costs comply with quality standards, product safety, and regulatory requirements. Organizations should assess the long-term benefits, including improved reputation, increased customer trust, and enhanced market competitiveness, to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of obtaining and maintaining certification.


A Good Distribution Practices (GDP) certification is valid for five years from the date of the latest inspection. It is crucial to understand that a GDP certificate is linked to a specific Inspection and cannot be renewed or reissued without an Inspection. To ensure the validity of the certification, organizations must undergo new Inspections and conduct necessary follow-up procedures. This process aims to sustain compliance with GDP standards and evaluate the organization’s adherence to the guidelines. Companies should take proactive measures by scheduling inspections and carrying out follow-up activities to maintain the validity of their GDP certification and demonstrate their commitment to good distribution practices.


CertPro specializes in assisting businesses to obtain GDP (Good Distribution Practice) certification through comprehensive auditing, consulting, and certification services. With a team of experienced auditors and consultants, CertPro guides your business through the Certification process, ensuring compliance with industry regulations and best practices. They assess your distribution practices, identify areas for improvement, and help implement effective quality management systems. CertPro provides documentation support and expert guidance to ensure compliance with GDP requirements. By partnering with CertPro, your business can demonstrate its commitment to maintaining the integrity and quality of pharmaceutical products during distribution, enhance customer trust, and meet regulatory requirements. Achieving GDP certification with CertPro’s assistance strengthens your reputation, improves operational efficiency, and opens doors to new business opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry.



GDP certification is crucial for maintaining the quality and safety of pharmaceutical products throughout the distribution process. It helps protect patients, assures customers of product quality, and ensures compliance with regulatory requirements.


Failure to meet GDP requirements can result in several consequences for an organization, including non-compliance penalties, reputational damage, legal ramifications, and potential risks to patient safety. It is crucial for organizations to prioritize and consistently adhere to GDP guidelines to uphold the quality and integrity of pharmaceutical products throughout the distribution process.


The time required for GDP certification depends on various factors, including the organization’s readiness, the complexity of operations, and the certification body’s process. Typically, the certification procedure takes many months to complete.


Post-certification, the company consistently complies with GDP guidelines, promptly takes any necessary corrective action, and actively participates in certification body surveillance audits. These activities ensure that the organization sustains its adherence to quality standards and demonstrates its commitment to upholding the principles of good distribution practices.


GDP certification is not universally mandatory, but it is often required or strongly recommended by regulatory authorities and industry stakeholders. It demonstrates a commitment to good distribution practices, ensuring the quality, integrity, and safety of pharmaceutical products. Many organizations voluntarily seek GDP certification to enhance their reputation and meet customer expectations.

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