Customer complaints against a cannabis pharmaceutical company must be taken seriously. Not only is it part of GMP — Good Manufacturing Practices — but the potential for lawsuits can be heavy in this new industry that is still largely unregulated.
Most complaints may have little merit, while others may involve the efficacy of your cannabis edibles, but they must all be investigated. The first purpose will be to lay down procedures for the handling of all customer complaints.
Document the Process & Assign Category
A complaint should first be recorded, with information from the customer and the nature of their complaint. Contact information for the customer should be recorded.
It’s important to categorize the complaint into three different categories: Minor, Major, or Critical.
Minor complaints may be regarding packing material, wrongful counts, or damage to the containers, but aren’t a significant hazard to health.
Major complaints can be due to mislabeling of packages, contamination, missing leaflets or insert, or minor reactions in the patient.
Critical complaints involve product mix-ups, incorrect active ingredients, wrong strengths, or anything that can cause adverse reactions or even death.
Critical Complaints Require Stoppage
Critical complaints need to be investigated first. This may require the stoppage of the sale and distribution of a batch within 24 hours of initially receiving the complaint. The issue may need to be reported to regulatory bodies.
No matter what level of criticality of compliant, however, there needs to be an investigation.
A sample will need to be examined from the batch in question. It will need to be analyzed with the relevant test parameters. This analysis is also to be carried out by the specifications by which the product had originally been released. Testing may also include analysis of other batches for comparison.
Once the testing has been done there will be a report of analysis sent to the QA department to further investigate.
Potential Facility or Equipment Problem
It’s possible the product failed through a facility or equipment problem. The equipment may need to be checked for mechanical faults or cleanliness.
Facility problems can indicate issues with worker fatigue or lack of training. An investigation report will need to be done.
If it’s been determined that a faulty product batch was sent to the consumer market, a Product Recall may need to be done.
Once the investigation is done and corrective actions in place, the marketing or RA department will send out a reply to the customer with the results of their investigation. When the customer returns feedback, this will also be recorded. Once the customer has returned feedback that they are satisfied, the case will be considered closed within 3-4 weeks.
Customer complaints should be regularly reviewed to avoid similar or recurring problems from happening in the future.
All records involving market complaints should be kept on file until one year after the date of expiry of the products, or one year after date of the complaint, whichever is longer.
The proper investigation of a customer complaint will not only help your facility to produce the highest quality of cannabis products, but will also help to maintain a high level of trust with the consumers and patients of your products.