International Cooperation on Cosmetics Regulation (ICCR) 14th Annual Meeting held virtually from December 7-9, 2020

The International Cooperation on Cosmetics Regulation (ICCR) held its 14th Annual Meeting (ICCR-14) from December 7-9, 2020 under the European Union’s Chairmanship. The meeting was held virtually due to travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ICCR is a voluntary international group of cosmetics regulatory authorities from Brazil, Canada, the European Union, Japan, and the United States. This group of regulatory authorities meets on an annual basis to discuss common issues on cosmetics safety and regulation, and to enter into a constructive dialogue with their relevant cosmetics industry trade associations. As stated in the Terms of Reference, the purpose of this multilateral framework is to maintain the highest level of global consumer protection, while minimizing barriers to international trade. In 2020, representatives from Chile, Colombia, Israel, People’s Republic of China, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand participated in the meeting as observers.

As part of this meeting, the regulators entered into a dialogue with cosmetics industry trade associations from each jurisdiction (including observers) on December 8, 2020.

The Deputy Director General of the Directorate General for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and Small and Medium Enterprises, European Commission, Ms. Maive Rute, welcomed the group and made opening remarks.

The Director-General of Cosmetics Europe, Mr. John Chave, made an opening statement on behalf of the cosmetics industry.

The following Joint Working Group topics were discussed at the meeting:

With respect to alternatives to animal testing, ICCR continues to work on this topic.

The Steering Committee (SC) accepted the application on transition from observer to ICCR SC member from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS), Republic of Korea, and the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration (TFDA), Chinese Taipei.

The following are the outcomes of the ICCR-14 cycle:

  1. Amendments to ICCR Standard Operating Procedures.
  2. Amendments to the "Process for ICCR Observer to transition to ICCR Steering Committee Member".
  3. International Standards: revised terminology and updated table of international cosmetic standards and their use within ICCR member jurisdictions.
  4. Updated Inventory of validated alternatives to animal testing applicable for cosmetic products.
  5. Integrated Strategies for Safety Assessments of Cosmetic Ingredients
    • ICCR SC endorsed the "Paving the way for Application of Next Generation Risk Assessment to safety decision-making for cosmetic ingredients" report and will post to the website.
    • ICCR SC agreed that a new Joint Working Group will be formed to work on other integrated strategies projects.
  6. Consumer Communications
    • ICCR SC endorsed the "Terms of Reference".
    • ICCR SC agreed that the first topic to be addressed by the JWG is allergens.
  7. Microbiome
    • ICCR SC endorsed the "Microbiome and cosmetics: survey of products, ingredients, terminologies, and regulatory approaches" report and will post to the website.
    • ICCR SC agreed that a new Joint Working Group will be formed to work on other microbiome topics as they relate to cosmetics.
  8. ICCR website
    • The ICCR SC was pleased to announce the launch of the revamped website.
  9. COVID-19 pandemic
    • The ICCR regulators response to the COVID-19 crisis on the global cosmetics sector can be found in Annex I.

The next ICCR meeting will be hosted by the United States in June 2021.

Annex I: ICCR response to COVID-19 on the global cosmetics sector

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Steering Committee (SC) members of the International Cooperation on Cosmetics Regulation (ICCR) recognize the challenges faced by both regulators and the cosmetics industry sectors during this major international health crisis. SC members exchanged information and experiences in responding to the pandemic and discussed possible solutions to overcome these challenges.

The global nature of the cosmetics sector has led the ICCR SC and industry to pursue a co-operative relationship on issues affecting the safety of cosmetics used by the public on a regular basis. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ICCR SC regulators (or their regulatory counterparts in their specific jurisdictions) have reported an increased demand for antiseptic solutions and alcohol-based gels for hand cleansingFootnote 1. Regulators have responded positively to this challenge by permitting fast-track processes and have organised support and guidance to industry for accelerated processes for the manufacturing, importing and selling of these products. The agility of regulatory and administrative requirements has been instrumental for ensuring sufficient production and, where necessary, import of hand sanitizers to avoid shortages in a public health emergency.

Concerns have heightened due to the increase of counterfeit hand sanitizers. A proactive and diligent post-marketing surveillance has been organized by some ICCR jurisdictions, notably to ensure that hand sanitizers contain at least a minimum acceptable concentration of ethyl alcoholFootnote 2 and do not contain methanol.

In addition, ICCR regulators or their regulatory counterparts have enhanced communication activities to inform the public of misleading claims and unqualified remedies.

The ICCR SC will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on the cosmetics sector globally as the crisis evolves.


Footnote 1

In Japan, Canada and the U.S., hand sanitizers/alcohol disinfectants fall outside of the cosmetics jurisdiction, and are regulated as a "drug" or "quasi-drug". In the U.S., hand sanitizers are regulated by the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) in the Office of Non-prescription Drug Products.

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Footnote 2

The minimum acceptable concentration is subject to differences depending on the ICCR jurisdiction.

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