Delivering our life-saving programs around the world requires many hands, so Nutrition International (formerly the Micronutrient Initiative) often relies on qualified and reliable suppliers for their products and services.

Nutrition International is an international not-for-profit organization based in Canada, dedicated to eliminating vitamin and mineral deficiencies worldwide.

Every year since 1998, Nutrition International has procured over 500 million vitamin A soft gelatin capsules and donated them to UNICEF as In-Kind-Assistance (IKA) for use in national supplementation programs targeting children 6-59 months of age in developing countries.

This year, 2019, Nutrition International plans to procure a total of approximately 500 million vitamin A soft gelatin capsules, in both 500-and/or 100-count bottles.

Nutrition International therefore invites manufacturers to submit a Request for Proposal (RFP) to supply vitamin A soft gelatin capsules.

Interested manufacturers must submit a RFP, all prerequisite documents and product samples to be received on or before 23:59 Ottawa EST on Friday, June 21, 2019. Manufacturers are responsible for all costs associated with the RFP preparation, including customs clearance of samples.

(See PDF NI- INVITATION FOR Request for Proposal (RFP) for full text)

RFP documents:

Please note that Adobe Reader 9 is required for completing the forms in Annex G and Annex N. Adobe Reader 9 is free software that can be downloaded here.

Only Required for Completion by New Proponents:

Key References

All questions posed and answers provided will be shared by email and posted without attribution on this page.

All enquiries regarding this RFP must be submitted in writing and should be directed to: Proposals@NutritionIntl.org

All questions posed and answers provided will be shared by email and posted without attribution on this page.


Question 1: In reference to the Technical Specification outlined, where it states that the vitamin A soft gelatin capsule must be manufactured to comply with USP.

Our product was developed by using an in-house validated method and all the stability analysis were conducted following the in-house method. Would this be acceptable?

Answer 1: It is a requirement to comply with either USP vitamin A “Oral Liquid Preparation” or Ph. EUR Vitamin A monograph method for this product. Other vitamin A monographs are not specific to this dosage form and should not be used as quality standards.

A common mistake made by manufacturers, which has prevented them from obtaining prequalification status in the past is the use of an incorrect product quality monograph. For example, by choosing the USP “Vitamin A Capsule” monograph as their guide, a manufacturer is testing vitamin A contained in the softgel capsule instead of the vitamin A delivered when the oily liquid is expressed from the softgel capsule. This will yield very different vitamin A assay results as it can be expected that 10% of the dose will remain in the softgel when using the expressed weight method prescribed in the correct “Vitamin A Oral Liquid Preparation” monograph.

For your ease of reference. Please find links to the correct monograph references for manufacturing this product below:

  1. USP Vitamin A Oral Liquid Preparation Method
  2. Ph. Int.-Retinol Oral Solution Monograph

Question 2: Our product has paraben in gelatin preparation only but it is not present in the API.

Answer 2: Vitamin A soft gelatin capsule products procured by NI/UNICEF for the Global Vitamin A Supplementation Program is required to be free of preservatives such as parabens.

Question 3:  Our product has stability study data conducted under Zone IVa (30 Degree Celsius  + RH 65%) condition up to 36 months and ongoing. Additionally, we have 6months accelerated stability report (40 Degree Celsius  + RH 75%).  We are in the process of conducting the Zone IVb stability study. The requirement states zone IV b data. Will we still be eligible?

Answer 3: It is really encouraging to hear that you are in the process of conducting Zone IV b stability study. Unfortunately, Zone IV b stability requirement has been enforced from the current (2019 RFP). In all of NI/UNICEF’s EOI/Tender documents dating back to 5 + years, we have been flagging that Zone IV b stability study data will be made a requirement from this year onwards.

However, if NI-UNICEF find that a certain manufacturer/s meet all of the other technical requirements, but only have demonstrated data in Zone IV a, we may decide to award conditional prequalification status to the manufacturer/s with commitment to conduct long term stability testing in zone IV b conditions. 

Question 4: The Vitamin A soft gelatin capsules are to be considered pharmaceutical products must be manufactured in accordance with prevailing GMP standards for pharmaceutical products by the National Drug Regulatory Authorities and by an internationally recognized authority that is a member or a partner of PICs. We currently only have approval from the National Drug Regulatory Authority.

Answer 4: GMP certification from the National Drug Regulatory Authority should suffice in the interim. Manufacturers that currently do not possess a cGMP from an internationally recognised authority that is a member or a partner of PICs may be considered for a conditional prequalification status, given:

(a) they meet all of the other technical specification criteria;

(b) they apply to have their facility/ies inspected for GMP by a UNICEF auditor and;

(c) provide proof that they are seeking to obtain a cGMP certificate from an internationally recognized authority that is a member/partner of PICs

Question 5: Is there a cover letter template that is required to be submitted to express interest in participating in the RFP, or is it a statement on our company’s letterhead?

Answer 5: There is no template for the cover letter expressing interest/ intent to bid in the RFP. However, the cover letter must include the following information:

  • express an interest to participate in the RFP;
  • confirm that all information submitted is true and correct and;
  • confirm that the proponent’s manufacturing facility has the capacity to produce Vitamin A in accordance with the technical requirements for the product/s as set out in this RFP.