Blog Tag: medical device regulation
FDA Issues Guidance on “Abbreviated” and “Special” 510(k) Pathways
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued two new guidance documents related respectively to an “abbreviated” and a “special” approach to the typical 510(K) process for medical devices.
The FDA describes the usual 510(K) process as “a premarket submission made to FDA to demonstrate that the device to be marketed is at least as safe and effective, that is, substantially equivalent, to a legally marketed device…that is not subject to premarket approval.” According to the FDA, “Each person who wants to market in the U.S., a Class I, II, and III device intended for human use, for which a Premarket Approval application (PMA) is not required, must submit a 510(k) to FDA unless the device is exempt from 510(k) requirements of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the FD&C Act) .”
Now, two recent guidance documents issued by the FDA allow for altered 510(K) approaches for certain medical devices. The first guidance, issued September 13, 2019, is for a “Special 510(K) Program.” The FDA describes this program as “an optional pathway for certain well-defined device modifications where a manufacturer modifies its own legally marketed device, and design control procedures produce reliable results that can form, in addition to other 510(k) content requirements, the basis for substantial equivalence (SE).” The guidance is intended to clarify “the types of technological changes appropriate for review as Special 510(k)s.” The new guidance also supersedes prior FDA guidance from 1998 regarding Special 510(k) policy in “The New 510(k) Paradigm: Alternate Approaches to Demonstrating Substantial Equivalence in Premarket Notifications.”
This MDDI article purports to offer a “handy checklist” to determine “if changes made to your medical device can be reviewed under the [Special 510(K)] program.” Some of the questions listed on the article’s checklist include the following:
- Is it a change to the manufacturer’s own device?
- Are performance data needed to evaluate the change?
- Is there a well-established method to evaluate the change?
- Can the data be reviewed in a summary or risk analysis format?
The second FDA guidance, also issued September 13, 2019, is for the “Abbreviated 510(K) Program.” The FDA describes the program as “an optional approach that may be used to demonstrate substantial equivalence in premarket notifications (510(k)s)” and that “uses guidance documents, special controls, and/or voluntary consensus standards to facilitate FDA’s premarket review of 510(k) submissions.” The guidance is “intended to facilitate 510(k) submission preparation by manufacturers and review by FDA.”
A copy of the guidance for the Special 510(K) Program can be found here, and a copy of the guidance for the Abbreviated 510(K) Program can be found here. The FDA currently states that comments on either guidance may be submitted at any time. Public comments on the guidance for the Special 510(K) Program may be submitted here and for the Abbreviated 510(K) Program here.
Outsourcing of Services in the Medical Device Industry
As the medical device market continues to grow, the medical device industry has strived to reduce costs through outsourcing. An industry report has found that the global medical device outsourcing market was valued at $33.2 billion in 2016, and is projected to continue to grow. The medical device industry is outsourcing not only the manufacturing of medical devices, but also associated services, such as regulatory consulting and contract manufacturing, to medical device service providers. Medical device manufacturers and outsourced medical device service providers should be conscious of the regulatory and legal ramifications of the delocalization associated with the outsourcing that is increasingly common in today’s global market.
While outsourcing has traditionally been linked to manufacturing, outsourcing of services has become a major growth engine in the medical device industry. Outsourced services include regulatory consulting, product design and development, testing and sterilization, implementation, upgrades, maintenance, and manufacturing contracts. Regulatory consulting, which in 2015 already commanded over 50% of the outsourcing market for services, is particularly expected to grow. Regulatory consulting includes services directed to compliance with national agencies that approve and continually monitor the safety of medical devices, including the F.D.A. in the United States and the E.F.S.A. in Europe. In addition, contract manufacturing is reported to be the fasted growing service in the medical device industry and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of over 11.5% through 2025.
There are several benefits associated with medical device outsourcing. According to an MDDI article, outsourcing can help original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) accelerate time to market for a new product, and speed up return on investment. Furthermore, the article states outsourcing can provide specialized knowledge, expertise, and facilities without the significant resources required to acquire such expertise in house. Moreover, outsourcing can leverage the pre-existing large supply chain of the contractor.
However, outsourcing also carries potential risks. The issues associated with outsourcing so many aspects of services uniquely associated with the medical device industry may not be as well known or well understood as the issues presented by outsourcing manufacturing. According to another MDDI article, these issues may include an increased risk of civil lawsuits from consumers of medical devices. This is especially true as medical devices become increasingly digital, and cybersecurity vulnerabilities are found. The medical device industry may also face increased regulatory scrutiny from national agencies as more regulatory compliance is outsourced to consulting services. Consequently, the medical device industry and medical device legal community will increasingly face new challenges from a world in which more and more industry services are outsourced.
EU Finalizes Medical Device Regulations
The European Council has released the final versions of its Medical Device Regulations (MDR) and In Vitro Diagnostics Regulations (IVDR). According to JDSupra, the Council of the European Union will vote on March 7, 2017 whether to adopt the MDR and the IVDR. That vote will be quickly followed on March 20, 2017 by a vote by the European Parliament. If adopted, the MDR and IVDR texts could be published by May 2017 and enter into force in May or June 2017. The MDR would be applicable by 2020 and the IVDR by 2022.
The final texts retain much of the same information of the current Directives released in May 2016. According to Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society (RAPS), an EU official stated that:
The content of the two regulations on medical devices and in vitro diagnostic medical devices is still the same as in the agreement reached between the Council of the EU and the European Parliament in May 2016 which has been approved by the Council on 20 September 2016… The difference between these ‘old’ documents and the ‘new’ documents is that the new documents have undergone a legal-linguistic review to make sure that the texts are coherent and equivalent in all 24 official EU languages. So in other words: the wording might have changed, but apart from corrections of some obvious mistakes and addition of necessary clarifications the new EU rules remain unchanged.
The regulations generally strengthen pre-market requirements and post-market surveillance, including establishment of a unique identification system. For example, some experts note that under the current IVD Directive, a manufacturer is able to self-certify about 80% of all IVDs on the EU market. However, when the IVDR becomes applicable five years after its publication, this ratio will flip so that approximately 80% of all IVDs on the EU market will require approval from a notified body.
JDSupra also reports that the two Regulations include transitional provisions that allow CE mark certificates issued in accordance with the current Directives to remain valid until the end of the period indicated on the certificates. According to the Emergo Group consulting company, CE mark certificates issued prior to final implementation of the new regulations in late 2019 or early 2020 will have a maximum validity of five years. CE mark certifications issued before implementation of the new regulations will expire automatically four years after the new regulations come into force.
As the Regulations will impact nearly every device manufacturer that sells products in the EU, device manufacturers are well-advised to consider their existing products and procedures in view of the Regulations to avoid future problems when marketing their devices.