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ISO 14971 Risk Management Updates in ISO/DIS 14971:2018

This article describes updates being made to the ISO 14971 Standard in the new draft version released for comment in July 2018.

There are two versions of ISO 14971 that are currently available. The first is the international version: ISO 14971:2007. The second is the European normative version: EN ISO 14971:2012. There is also a new draft being created by the TC210 committee for release in 2019.

Explanation of the different versions of the ISO 14971 standard

In 2000, the first edition of ISO 14971 was released as the international standard for risk management of medical devices. In 2007, the second edition of ISO 14971 was released. When new international standards are released, a European normative version is also released. The “European Norm” or EN version is intended to identify any gaps between the international standard and the requirements of the applicable European directives (i.e., the MDD, AIMD and the IVDD). These gaps historically were included in the ZA annex at the end of the EN version. However, in 2009 this annex was split into three annexes (i.e., ZA, ZB and ZC) to address each of the three directives separately. In reality, the 2009 annex only differed with regard to the directive referenced. In 2012, a new EN version was released. This new standard included 7 deviations which were controversial. These deviations were intended to identify contradictions between the directives and the international standard, but the interpretations were not agreed with by companies or most of the Notified Bodies. Ultimately, the 7 deviations were required to be addressed in the risk management files for any medical device that was CE Marked.

What changed between ISO 14971:2007 and ISO/DIS 14971:2018?

The TC210 working group assigned to update the ISO 14971 standard (JWG1) was tasked with improving guidance for implementation of ISO 14971, but the committee was also tasked with making these improvements without changing the risk management process. In addition, the committee was asked to move the informative annexes at the end of ISO 14971 from the standard to the guidance document ISO/TR 24971. Therefore, in July the committee released a draft for comment and voting. Draft versions are identified with the prefix “ISO/DIS.” The ISO/DIS 14971 standard released in July has only three annexes: A) Rationale for the requirements, B) Risk management process for medical devices, and C) Fundamental risk concepts (formerly Annex E). The other 7 annexes were moved to the draft of ISO/TR 24971. The reason stated for moving these Annexes to the guidance document was to make future revisions to the guidance easier to implement, because it is a guidance rather than a standard. However, there were also some objectionable recommendations in the informative annexes that were the subject of deviation #3—ALARP from Annex D.8 vs. “As far as possible” in the first indent of section 2 of Annex I in the MDD.

Although the committee was tasks to make improvements in the implementation of ISO 14971 without changing the process, the new draft has subtle changes in the process. Most of these changes can be identified quickly by reviewing the updated risk management flow chart provided in Figure 1. The updated flow chart now has two places where risks are evaluated. The first place is identical the original Figure 1, but now the associated section is clarified to be specific to evaluating individual risks. The second place in the flow chart is new, and specific to evaluation of overall residual risks. The draft standard also states that different acceptability criteria and methods of evaluation may be used for each evaluation phase in the process. There have also been subtle changes to the names of process phases:

  • Section 7.4 is now “Benefit/Risk” analysis instead of “Risk/Benefit” analysis—although the draft flow chart does not reflect this.
  • Section 9 is now “Risk Management Review” instead of “Risk Management Report”
  • Section 10 is now “Production and post-production activities” instead of “Production and post-production information”

There is also more detail in the diagram under the phases for: 1) risk analysis, 2) risk control, and 3) production and post-production activities.

Three new definitions are introduced in the draft standard: 3.2, benefit; 3.15, reasonably foreseeable misuse; and 3.28, state of the art. The section for identification of hazards, Clause 5.4, was reworded and expanded to consider the reasonably foreseeable sequences or combinations of events that can result in a hazardous situation. The draft standard now states that your risk management plan must also include a method to evaluate the overall residual risk and the criteria for acceptability of the overall residual risk. In the section for risk estimation, Clause 5.5, the draft standard states that if the probability of the occurrence of harm cannot be estimated, the possible consequences shall be listed for use in the risk evaluation and risk control. The risk control option analysis priorities in section 7.1 are updated to match the new MDR, Regulation (EU) 2017/745, nearly exactly. In section 9, risk management reports were changed to risk management review and the clause now requires determining when to conduct subsequent reviews and when to update reports. This emphasizes the requirement to continuously update risk management documentation with input from production and post-production information. This mirrors the emphasis on continuously updating post-market clinical follow-up in Regulation (EU) 2017/745, Annex XIV, Part B, Section 5; and continuously updating clinical evaluations in Regulation (EU) 2017/745, Annex XIV, Part A, Section 1.

Will ISO 14971 2019 eliminate the deviations ISO 14971 Risk Management Updates in ISO/DIS 14971:2018

Will ISO 14971:2019 address the 7 Deviations in EN ISO 14971:2012?

The new MDR, Regulation (EU) 2017/745, revised and clarified the wording of the essential requirements in the MDD. The MDR attempts to clarify the requirements for risk management files of CE Marked products, but the MDR remains different from the requirements of ISO 14971. Unfortunately, because the ISO/DIS 14971 was not intended to change the risk management process of ISO 14971:2007, there will continue to be “deviations” between the MDR and standard.

Some people have tried use ISO/TR 24971, the risk management guidance, as the official interpretation of how the risk management standard. However, the guidance is also a product of the TC210 committee, and it does not meet all requirements of the MDD or the MDR.

The new draft does, however, include changes that address some of the deviations in EN ISO 14971:2012. Below, each of the 7 deviations are listed and hyperlinks are provided to other articles on each individual deviation.

  1. Negligible Risks – The word “negligible” was only in one location in the body of the standard as a note referring to Annex D.8. In the draft, Annex D was removed and relocated to ISO/TR 24971, and the note was eliminated from Clause 3.4—now Clause 4.4 in the draft. This deviation should be fully resolved by the draft.
  2. Risk Acceptability – Clause 7 was renumbered to Clause 8 in the draft, but the title of this clause was also changed from “Evaluation of overall residual risk acceptability” to “Evaluation of overall residual risk.” However, if you read the Clause it still refers to determining acceptability of risks. In note 2 of Annex ZA of the draft, it states that determining acceptable risk must be in compliance with Essential Requirements 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11 and 12 of the Directive. This deviation should be fully resolved by the draft.
  3. ALARP vs. “As far as possible” – The European Commission believes that the concept of “ALARP” implies economic considerations, and some companies have used economics as a reason for not implementing certain risk controls. ALARP was eliminated from the notes in the risk management plan clause and by moving Annex D.8 to ISO/TR 24971 and adding note 1 in Annex ZA. This deviation should be fully resolved by the draft.
  4. Benefit/Risk Analysis – The contradiction in requirements between the International Standard and the MDD, as it relates to determining when a benefit/risk analysis must be conducted has not been updated. This deviation is not resolved by the draft. Companies that CE Mark products will need to perform a benefit/risk analysis for all residual risks and all individual risks—despite the wording of the standard.
  5. Risk Control – The contradiction in requirements between the International Standard and the MDD, as it relates to determining when risk controls must be implemented. The International Standard gives companies the option to avoid implementation of risk controls if the risk is acceptable, while the MDD requires that risk controls be implemented for all risks unless the risk controls create additional risks that increase risks or the risk controls do not actually reduce risks further. This deviation is not resolved by the draft. Companies that CE Mark products will need to implement risk controls for all individual risks—despite the wording of the standard.
  6. Risk Control Options – The intent of Clause 6.2 in ISO 14971:2007 was likely to be the same as the MDD. However, the European Commission identified the missing word “construction” as being significant. Therefore, to prevent any misunderstandings, the TC210 committee copied the wording of Regulation (EU) 2017/745. This deviation should be fully resolved by the draft.
  7. IFU Validation – Again, to prevent any misunderstandings, the TC210 committee copied the wording of Regulation (EU) 2017/745. However, the examples of information for safety (i.e., warnings, precautions and contraindications) were not included. Hopefully, the final version of 3rd edition will include these examples. Clause 8, evaluation of overall residual risk, was also reworded to state, “the manufacturer shall decide which residual risks to disclose and what information is necessary to include in the accompanying documentation in order to disclose those residual risks.” This deviation should be fully resolved by the draft.

Recommendations for your Risk Management Process?

The most important consideration when establishing a risk management process for medical devices is whether you plan to CE Mark products. If you intend to CE Mark products, then you should write a procedure that is compliant with the current requirements of the MDD and future requirements of Regulation (EU) 2017/745. Therefore, the 7 deviations should be addressed. In addition, you need to maintain compliance with the current version of the Standard.

I recommend creating a process based upon the new updated process diagram in the new draft. The process should begin with a risk management plan. For you plan, you may want to create a template and maintain it as a controlled document. It could also be part of your design and development plan template, but the plan should include each of the following risk management activities:

  1. Hazard identification
  2. Risk estimation
  3. Risk evaluation
  4. Risk control option analysis
  5. Risk control verification of effectiveness
  6. Benefit/Risk analysis
  7. Evaluation of overall residual risk
  8. Risk management review
  9. Production and post-production activities

Your procedure should also be integrated with other processes, such as: 1) design control, 2) post-marketing surveillance, and 3) clinical evaluation. Your procedure must clearly indicate the priority for implementation of risk control options. The best strategy for ensuring risk control priorities are compliant is to copy the wording of the new EU Regulations verbatim. Your process should include performing benefit/risk analysis. You should also define your process for risk management review. Your review process should specify when subsequent reviews will be done and when your risk management report will be updated. Finally, you should identify a post-market surveillance plan for each device, or device family, and use that post-market surveillance data as feedback in the risk management process.

The one element that appears to be weakly addressed in the body of the standard is the requirement for traceability of each hazard to the other elements of the risk management process. Although traceability is mentioned in Clause 3.5 of the 2nd edition, and Clause 4.5 of draft 3rd edition of ISO 14971, that is the only place is mentioned in the body of the standard. Traceability is mentioned several more times in Annex A, but the focus seems to be on the risk management file. Companies need more guidance on how to achieve this traceability. The appropriate place for this guidance is probably in ISO/TR 24971, but in order to maintain this documentation it is likely that a software database will be critical to maintaining traceability as changes are made during design iterations and after commercialization. This type of software tool is also need to expedite the review of risk management documentation during complaint investigation.

Which Risk Analysis Tool should you use?

In Annex G of ISO 14971:2007, and the EN 2012 version, there are five different risk analysis tools described. The word “described” is emphasized, because informative annexes are not “recommended.” The committee that created the 2nd edition of ISO 14971 wanted to provide several suggestions for possible risk analysis tools to consider. However, each tool has strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, the widespread use of the failure-mode-and-effects analysis (FMEA) tool in the automotive and aerospace industries has spread to the medical device industry and companies seem to believe that regulators prefer the FMEA tool. This is not true. Companies should be trained in all of these tools, training should consist of more than just reading Annex G and the tools should be used where they are most beneficial. My personal recommendations are below:

  1. Preliminary Hazard Analysis (PHA) – This process is absolutely critical during development of design inputs. It is also the most underutilized analysis tool. I have not seen a single example of this tool written in a procedure by any medical device company. I believe this process should be continuously updated as part of training new design team members and should be both product and project specific.
  2. Fault-tree Analysis (FTA) – This process is a top-down approach to risk analysis. It is heavily utilized by transportation engineers when intersections are designed, and accidents are investigated. This tool depicts risk analysis pictorial as a tree of fault modes representing each possible root cause for failure. At each level of the tree, fault mode combinations are described with logical operators (i.e., AND, OR). The information displays frequency of each fault mode quantitatively. Therefore, when you are investigating a complaint, the tree can be used to help identify possible fault modes that may have been the root cause of device failure. You may also be interested in the standard specific to Fault tree analysis (FTA): IEC 61025:2006.
  3. Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) – This process is a bottom-up approach to risk analysis. It is heavily utilized by the automotive and aerospace industries. This tool systematically lists all failure modes in groups organized by component. Risks are estimated based upon severity of effect, probability of occurrence and detectability. Over time, the FMEA process split into three tools: 1) process FMEA (pFMEA), 2) design FMEA (dFMEA), and 3) use FMEA (uFMEA). The first is ideal for analyzing and reducing risks associated with manufacturing of devices. In particular, the detectability factor can be linked closely with process validation. The second evolved from the realization that detection of a risk after the device is in the user’s hands does not actually reduce risk. A risk reduction only occurs if detectability is proactive. Therefore, this was stated in Annex G.4 and companies began to eliminate detectability and continued to use FMEA as their primary tool. Due to the widespread familiarity with the FMEA tool, usability FMEAs became popular for documenting risks associated with use of a device. Unfortunately, the only real advantages of a dFMEA and uFMEA are familiarity with the tool. You may also be interested in the standard specific to FMEA: IEC 60812:2018.
  4. Hazard and Operability Study (HAZOP) – In addition to the risks of using devices, there are also risks associated with the production of devices. Processes related to coating, cleaning and sterilization are all processes that typically involve hazardous chemicals. The chemical and pharmaceutical industries use HAZAP as a tool to analyze these process risk and prevent injuries. You may also be interested in the standard specific to HAZOP: IEC 61882:2016.
  5. Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) – This process is primarily used by the food industry to prevent the spread of contaminated food supplies. Even though it is not typically used by medical device manufacturers, it should be considered as a tool for managing the supply chain for devices. This model is useful when manufacturing is outsourced, or secondary processing is conducted at second and third-party suppliers. Since many FDA inspectors started in the food industry as inspectors, this is also a method that is supported by the FDA as a risk control process for outsourced processes.

How to document your risks?

For simple devices, risk management documentation is a burdensome task. For complex devices, a spreadsheet could include hundreds of lines or more than even one thousand individual lines. In addition, the requirement for traceability requires additional columns in a table. Therefore, it becomes nearly impossible for you to include all the required information on a page that is 11 inches wide. If you expand your page to 17 inches wide, the size of your font will need to be very small. If you make a change, your spreadsheet can be difficult to update quickly. You could purchase a 43” widescreen TV for your monitor, or you can use dual monitors for your display, but changes remain difficult to implement without a mistake.

You need to stop relying upon spreadsheets. Use a database, and don’t use Microsoft Access. Purchase a database that is designed to document design controls and risk management traceability. If your company has software expertise, develop your own software tool to do this. You should also design standardized templates for exporting your reports. By doing this, it will only take minutes to create an updated report when you make design changes. If you describe the risk management activities as notes in your software, the description of these activities can also be automatically converted into summary pages for each report summarizing that risk management activity. You can even prompt the user to answer questions in the software to populate a templated document. For example, you can prompt users to input subsequent updates of your risk management reviews and that can be automatically converted into a summary paragraph. This reporting capability is especially helpful when responding to FDA review questions asking for cybersecurity risks.

Additional Training Resources for ISO 14971

The risk management training webinar was being completely rewritten to address changes proposed in the new draft of ISO 14971 (i.e., ISO/DIS 14971) released in July 2018 and European requirements for compliance with Regulation (EU) 2017/745. The webinar was live on October 19, 2018; but it was recorded for anyone that was unable to participate in the live session.

SYS-010, Medical Device Academy’s Risk Management Procedure, is compliant with EN ISO 14971:2012. The procedure includes templates for documentation of design risk management and process risk management. However, we are rewriting the procedure for compliance with ISO/DIS 14971:2018 and Regulation (EU) 2017/745. The new version of the procedure will be available on or before October 26, 2018. The procedure is temporarily available at a discounted pre-order price, but the cost will increase to $299 once the new version is available.

 

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ISO 10993-1-2018 Biocompatibility – What’s new?

The new 5th edition of the biocompatibility standard, ISO 10993-1-2018, was released in August and this article explains the changes and potential impact.

ISO 10993 1 2018 Retest ISO 10993 1 2018 Biocompatibility   What’s new?

ISO 10993-1-2018 is the 5th edition of the biocompatibility standard for evaluation of medical devices. The new version, released in August, replaces the 2009 version of the standard. I was unable to find a European version of this standard, but you can expect one to be made available very soon–probably before you read this article. If your company is CE Marking devices, once the European standard is released you will be required to perform a gap analysis against the new standard and assess whether retesting is required for your products in order to remain compliant with CE Marking requirements.

The FDA has not yet added ISO 10993-1-2018 to the recognized standards database, but the FDA guidance on the use of ISO 10993-1, released in February 2016, already addressed most of the changes contained in the new 5th edition.

Overview of Changes in ISO 10993-1-2018

The 5th edition includes a foreword that explains the changes from the 4th edition. The 5th edition replaces the 4th edition (i.e., ISO 10993-1-2009), and it incorporates the correction that was made in 2010. The most significant changes from the previous edition are:

  • Table A.1 in Annex A, Evaluation Tests for Consideration, was expanded with the addition of six new columns:
    • “physical and/or chemical information”
    • “material mediated pyrogenicity”
    • “chronic toxicity”
    • “carcinogenicity”
    • “reproductive/developmental toxicity”
    • “degradation”

In addition, instead of tests to be conducted being identified with an “X,” the updated table now identifies endpoints to be considered with “E.” The only column containing an “X” is the column for physical and/or chemical information. This information is identified as a prerequisite for a risk assessment. The new Annex A is now 5 pages in length.

  • The 3-pages that were Annex B, “Guidance on the risk management process,” has been completely replaced with 13-pages from ISO TR 15499-2016, “Guidance on the conduct of biological evaluation within a risk management process.”
  • Twenty-one (21) new definitions for terms were added to the 5th edition–including “3.9 geometry device configuration,” “3.15 nanomaterial,” “3.16 non-contacting,” “3.17 physical and chemical information,” “3.25 toxicological threshold” and “3.26 transitory contact.”
  • Additional information on the evaluation of non-contacting medical devices and transitory-contacting medical devices was added.
  • Expansion of the standard to include evaluation of nanomaterials and absorbable materials. This includes addition of section B.4.3.3 in Annex B for guidance on pH and osmolality compensation for absorbable materials.
  • An additional reference to ISO 18562-1, -2, -3 and -4, for “Biocompatibility evaluation of breathing gas pathways in healthcare applications,” was added as well. However, the four standards in the ISO 18562 series should be purchased if you are conducting a biocompatibility evaluation for a device of this type (e.g., respiratory gas humidifiers).

There are also many minor changes in the 5th edition, but Annex C is almost identical to the previous version. The only change I noticed was the addition of “Preference may be given to GLP over non-GLP data,” to clause C.2.3.

Correspondence with FDA Guidance on Use of ISO 10993-1-2018

Table A.1 in Annex A is quite similar to Table A.1 in the FDA guidance, and 100% of the columns match except the column for “physical and/or chemical information.” Although, the FDA guidance does not have a column in the table indicating that physical and chemical characterization is required as a prerequisite for the risk assessment, it is very clear from the language in the guidance that information about the physical and chemical characteristics of the device “should be provided in sufficient detail for FDA to make an independent assessment during our review and arrive at the same conclusion.” The FDA guidance also requires information about the surface properties of the finished device. The FDA included a section specific to “Submicron or Nanotechnology Components,” which is consistent with the ISO 10993-1-2018 where there references throughout the standard to ISO/TR 10993-22, Guidance on nanomaterials. The FDA guidance does not, however, include guidance on pH and osmolality compensation for absorbable materials. The FDA guidance also does not include a reference to the ISO 18562 series of standards, but the FDA product classification database was updated in June to include reference to the ISO 18562 series of standards when they were added to the database of recognized standards.

Correspondence with the European Directive and EU MDR

The 4th edition of the EN version has Table ZA.1 explaining the correlation between the standard and the European Directive. Specifically, Clauses 4, 5, 6 and 7 of the European Standard correspond to Annex I, Essential Requirements 7.1, 7.2 and 7.5 in the MDD. In the new Regulation (EU) 2017/745, these clauses correspond with Annex I, Essential Requirements 10.1, 10.2 and 10.4. Therefore, you should expect the European version of ISO 10993-1-2018 to include a table similar to Table ZA.1, but you should also anticipate that your evaluation of biological risks will need to be updated and additional testing may be required in order to remain compliant for any devices that are CE Marked.

Changes to the biological evaluation process in ISO 10993-1-2018

As in the previous version of the biocompatibility standard, Figure 1 is a decision tree that follows the biological evaluation process outlined in the standard. At first glance, the updated Figure 1 appears to be essentially unchanged. However, even though the updated figure has exactly the same shape and the same number of elements, there are subtle changes. For example, the potential effects of geometry is emphasized in the ISO 10993-1-2018. The more significant change in the process is at the end. Where it used to say, “Testing and/or justification for omitting suggested tests,” the updated figure now includes a reference to Annex A under those words. Where it used to say, “Perform Biological Evaluation,” the updated figure now says, “Perform Toxicological Risk Assessment (Annex B)”.

Annex B is where the most visible changes are found in the ISO 10993-1-2018. For example, in the previous version of the biocompatibility standard, there was a reference to creating a prospective, biological evaluation plan as part of the risk management plan. In the 5th edition, clause B.2.2 outlines the Biological Evaluation Plan–which is sometimes referred to by its acronym of “BEP” by third-party testing labs.

In addition, clause B.4 provides guidance for biological evaluation. This guidance is directly copied from ISO/TR 10993-22, but it answers the frequently asked question of “how do you perform a biological evaluation.” The basic steps of the biological evaluation, which have not changed, are:

  1. Material characterization (B.4.1)
  2. Collection of existing data (B.4.2)
  3. Device testing considerations (B.4.3)
  4. Biological safety assessment (B.4.4)

However, the guidance provides details for each step, as well as general guidance on when changes may require re-evaluation of biological safety, GLPs and biocompatibility evaluation documentation. In general, the focus of ISO 10993-1-2018 is now on the evaluation of toxicological data in Annex B, rather than passing a few required tests that were previously identified in Table A.1.

Will ISO 10993-1-2018 Require you to Retest for Biocompatibility?

In general, I do not expect that the changes to ISO 10993-1-2018 will require extensive retesting for your company. However, you can expect a significant amount of rewriting of your biological evaluation report to be required. Now you will need to more fully characterize the physical and chemical characteristics of your device, and you will need to provide a more comprehensive biological safety assessment–including an evaluation of toxicological data for each chemical including in the formulation of your device. It’s possible that you may even identify certain chemicals in the material formulation that prevent you from using a material–even though the material may have passed all biocompatibility tests in the past. I will also need to update one of my own articles on biocompatibility and a biocompatibility webinar.

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Quik 510k Pilot – Explanation of Quik 510k Pilot

There are 38 product classification codes that the FDA selected for the Quik 510k Pilot program to evaluate version 3 of the eSubmitter software.

510k Quik Pilot Product Codes 1 Quik 510k Pilot   Explanation of Quik 510k Pilot

What are the three (3) advantages of the new Quik 510k pilot program?

There are three (3) advantages of using the eSubmitter software as part of the Quik 510k pilot.  The first advantage of using the eSubmitter software is that the refusal to accept (RTA) process will be eliminated. This change is huge, because nearly 50% of submissions are rejected during the RTA screening process. The hope is that the eSubmitter software will prevent companies from submitting submissions that are missing required content, and therefore the RTA process will not be needed. However, we have seen many submissions placed on hold for technicalities rather than sub-standard submissions. Therefore, it will be fascinating to see the FDA reported outcomes from the Quik 510k pilot.

The second advantage of using the eSubmitter software is that the reviews will be interactive. This means that reviewers are not expected to have any additional information (AI) requests. This also means that submitters will need to respond to questions from reviewers quickly. For example, I have received a call on Friday afternoon after 5:00pm EDT asking if I could make a revision to document and email that document to the reviewer by Monday morning. This is an extreme example, but 48-72 hours is typical for a required turn-around during interactive reviews.

The third advantage of using the eSubmitter software is that the FDA is targeting completion of their 510k review within 60 days. This 30-day reduction may seem huge, but the FDA already cut 15 days off their review timeline by eliminating the RTA screening. Second, the FDA picked 38 product classification codes that should not have difficulty reviewing in 60 days. Not all product classifications have the same amount of testing data required, and I do not expect the FDA to be able to review all product classification codes in 60 days–even with eSubmitter.

Although the Quik 510k pilot mentioned that submissions would be zipped, eSubmitter is also designed for electronic submissions through an electronic submissions gateway (ESG). An ESG has the added advantage that you will not need to ship your submission via FedEx. This advantage will gain you only a maximum of 24 hours, but I wish I had those 24 hours last week. Every year, in the last week of September, all the small businesses with small business qualification try to submit their 510k prior to end of the fiscal year (i.e., September 30). This year I had four clients that were in this position. One was unable to get the data they needed to complete their submission prior to September 30. The other three were making last minute changes up until the afternoon of Thursday, September 27. One of those submissions was extremely challenging, because the submission included video files that exceeded 1GB in total. Therefore, I called CDRH’s eCopy Program Coordinators at 240-402-3717. They were extremely helpful. They said that it would be best to provide two identical eCopies, or to save the MISC FILES and STATISTICAL DATA folders on a separate flash drive. The reason for this is that very large submissions can take days to upload into the CDRH database. Therefore, the picture below shows you what my final solution was for the three submissions this week. The De Novo submission had to be split.

20180927 121031 Quik 510k Pilot   Explanation of Quik 510k Pilot

What our firm has done to take advantage of the Quik 510k pilot

If you have a product with any of the 38 product classification codes listed above, and you need to submit a 510k in the next 6 months, you are very fortunate. Your submission will be prioritized by the FDA and you are likely to be able to get your device cleared in 60 days or less. Our firm is very anxious to take part in this pilot because the FDA intends to require the eSubmitter software for all submissions in the future, and we expect other product classification codes to be added to the pilot over time. We process dozens of 510k submissions each year and mastering the nuances of the software is critical to our continued success. I already downloaded the software and installed it onto my computer. I also created a complete submission as a test. eSubmitter saved several hours in the preparation of a 510(k) from the typical 40 hours the process takes. Therefore, I expect implementation of new eSubmitter software to a triple win for the FDA, clients and our firm. In fact, I plan to request that the FDA add De Novo submissions next to this pilot. The reason is that De Novo submissions typically have more content and the content is more variable. I think this would be an extremely challenging test for eSubmitter, and the relatively small volume of De Novo submissions would limit the impact upon FDA resources.

Changes to eCopy Requirements in 2018

In 2017, the FDA indicated that eSubmitter software was going to be revised and it would be approximately 2 years before companies would be able to submit a 510k electronically to the FDA. Until then, companies must ship an electronic eCopy and a paper copy to the FDA Document Control Center (DCC). The eCopy guidance states, “An eCopy is accompanied by a paper copy of the signed cover letter and the complete paper submission.” However, the FDA’s eCopy guidance has not been updated since December 3, 2015. There are some unofficial changes to the policy, and the FDA no longer requires the complete paper submission. Instead, you can submit an eCopy accompanied by a paper copy of the signed cover letter.

Before February 2018, we would print 1,000+ pages for each 510k submission, pack two 3” three-ring binders in 12”x12”x6” ULine boxes and ship the box to the FDA overnight via FedEx. We typically would charge $400 for this eCopy service. After the unofficial policy change, all of our 510k submissions consist of a paper copy of the cover letter and an eCopy on a USB flash drive. We only charge $150 for the FDA eCopy service, and 100% of our eCopy submissions have been uploaded without problems this year.

What is the difference between creating an eCopy and submitting with eSubmitter (cited from FDA website)?

There are four differences between eSubmitter and eCopies:

  1. An eSubmission package contains PDF attachments and XML file types. The XML files are intended for CDRH IT systems to process the application. Reviewers will not see these XML files. 
  2. The parts of the eCopy guidance that describe the structure of a 510(k) submission will not apply to the Quik Review Program Pilot.
  3. An eSubmission is organized according to the layout of the template, which places administrative documents (e.g., Form 3674, the 510(k) Summary, the Truthful and Accurate statement) at the end of the submission because their applicability is determined based on the answers to questions in the body of the template (e.g., Form 3674 is only required if the applicant indicates clinical data are included).
  4. Electronic signatures are used in the submission (e.g., on the Truthful and Accurate statement), rather than physical signatures.

eSubmitter Template Options

For device 510k submissions, the FDA’s eSubmitter gives you three options:

  1. Template Version 1.3, for In Vitro Diagnostic 510k submissions to CDRH only, allows you to create a 510k submission and the eSubmitter software will package your submission in a specially formatted zip folder that you can save to a compact disc (CD), digital video disc (DVD) or flash drive. Then the you must print a paper copy of your signed cover letter and ship the eCopy created by eSubmitter with your paper copy of the cover letter to the FDA DCC.
  2. Template Version 1.2.1, for Non-In Vitro Diagnostic 510k submissions that are among the 1,000+ other product classifications not included in the Quik 510k pilot (CDRH: Medical Device eCopies), you can create a 510k submission and the eSubmitter software will package your submission in a folder for you. You can then copy the contents of that folder to a compact disc (CD), digital video disc (DVD) or flash drive. Then the you must print a paper copy of your signed cover letter and ship the eCopy created by eSubmitter with your paper copy of the cover letter to the FDA DCC.
  3. Template Version 3.2, for Non-In Vitro Diagnostic 510k submissions that are among the 38 product classification codes that are listed above for the Quik 510k pilot program. This allows you to create a 510k submission and the eSubmitter software will package your submission in a specially formatted zip folder that you can save to a compact disc (CD), digital video disc (DVD) or flash drive. Then the you must print a paper copy of your signed cover letter and ship the eCopy created by eSubmitter with your paper copy of the cover letter to the FDA DCC. This template is unique to the Quik 510k pilot program. There is a red bar that appears at the top of the screen:

“This template should only be used to construct a submission if you are submitting it as part of the Quick Review Pilot. All others may use the content of this template as a reference to aid in constructing an eCopy. If you are not part of the Quick Review Pilot, do not construct a submission with this template, it will be rejected.”

When you create your own eCopy, then you will need to create a volume based or non-volume based submission in accordance with the eCopy guidance. The volume folders and/or files are saved to a compact disc (CD), digital video disc (DVD) or flash drive. Then the you must print a paper copy of your signed cover letter and ship the eCopy you created with your paper copy of the cover letter to the FDA DCC.

Warning Symbol Quik 510k Pilot   Explanation of Quik 510k PilotWarning: If you are using Windows 10, and you save your eCopy or eSubmitter zip folder on a flash drive, Windows 10 will automatically create a hidden system folder titled “System Information Volume.”  This folder is created as a security feature to enable you to recover accidentally deleted content. However, this folder results in an error when the FDA attempts to upload your submission automatically. Therefore, you must remove this hidden system folder. Instructions for this can be found on our website page about eCopy hidden system files.

Posted in: 510(k)

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Are 510k pre-sub meetings a waste of time?

This article reviews four of the top reasons for why other companies feel requesting 510k pre-sub meetings is a waste of time, but you can’t afford to.

Requesting 510k pre sub meeting is a waste of time 1024x448 Are 510k pre sub meetings a waste of time?

It only takes my team 8-10 hours to prepare a 510k pre-sub request. The FDA does not charge you a cent for requesting 510k pre-sub meetings, and a pre-sub should be part of every design plan. But most companies are resistant to requesting 510k pre-sub meetings. Here are the top 4 reasons why companies tell me they don’t need to request a meeting:

It’s too late for requesting 510k pre-sub meetings

If you are less than a week away from submitting a 510k, it is too late for requesting 510k pre-sub meetings. The FDA target for scheduling a 510k pre-sub meeting is 60-75 days from the date your request was submitted. That’s 10-11 weeks. Most companies tell me that they plan to submit a 510k within weeks or a couple of months, but most of the companies take several months and frequently there is a delay that requires 6 months or more. For example, what if your device fails EMC testing, and you have to change the design and retest for both EMC and electrical safety? At best you will have an 8-week delay. If you submit request next week, and everything goes as you plan, you can always withdraw your request for the pre-sub. If you encounter a delay for any reason, suddenly it’s not too late.

Our design is not finalized yet

I believe that waiting until your design is almost complete is the number one reason why companies wait too long to request 510k pre-sub meetings. If they wait too long, then the previous reason for not requesting a meeting takes over. The ideal time to submit a pre-sub request is 75 days before you approve your design outputs (i.e., design freeze). However, very few people are that precise in their design planning and execution. You should try to target sometime after you approve your design inputs, but before you approve your design outputs. As long as you submit an update to your pre-sub request 2 weeks before the meeting, the FDA will accept it. Also, you can always schedule a date that is later than 75 days if you realize you requested the meeting too early.

We don’t want to be bound by what the FDA says in the 510k pre-sub meeting

510k pre-sub meetings are “non-binding.” That means that the FDA can change their mind, but it also means you don’t have to do everything the FDA says in a 510k pre-sub meeting. If you don’t ask a question about testing requirements, that doesn’t mean that the FDA does not have any testing requirements. The FDA knows what previous companies have submitted for testing better than you do, and they may be in the process of evaluating a draft special controls guidance. If you ask questions, you will have better insights into what the FDA expects. Understanding FDA expectations helps you write better rationales for testing or test avoidance. You also might learn about deadlines for implementation of new testing requirements that you might be able to avoid. Finally, you can ask the FDA about possible testing options you are considering if your most optimistic testing plans are denied by the FDA.

There is already a guidance document for our device

Not all device classifications have a guidance document explaining what information should be submitted in a pre-market 510k submission. However, there almost one hundred Class II Special Controls Guidance Documents. Therefore, there is a good chance that the FDA published special controls as part of the regulation for your device or as a guidance document. As part of the special controls, the FDA defines what performance testing is required for your device. If you already know what testing is required, then the value in requesting 510k pre-sub meetings is diminished. But at least three other key benefits remain.

First, you can verify that the predicate you plan to use for comparative testing is not going to be a problem. Although, the FDA can’t tell you which predicate to pick, the FDA can tell you if there is a problem with the predicate you have selected. This is especially important if the product is not currently registered and listed, because you may not know if the device was withdrawn from the market after it was cleared.

Second, not all testing standards are prescriptive. Many tests, have testing options that require you to make a decision. Input from the FDA may be valuable in making choices between various performance testing options Sometimes you even forgo testing and provide a rationale instead. FDA feedback on any rationale for not doing testing is critical to prevent delays and requests for additional information later.

Third, there are many different FDA representatives that participate in 510k pre-sub meetings. The lead reviewer will invite specialists and the branch chief to the meeting. Each of these specialists can answer questions during a pre-submission meeting that they are not able to answer during the actual review process. You also have the opportunity to get feedback from the branch chief–who has insight from all the previous devices that were cleared with your product classification. Your lead reviewer is not likely to be as experienced as the branch chief, and may only have been working at the FDA for months. Your request for the 510k pre-sub meeting will help an inexperienced lead reviewer as much as it will help your company.

Learning More about 510k Pre-sub Meetings

On Thursday, February 22 there will be a free webinar offered on the topic of 510k pre-sub meetings. We had 50 people register for the webinar in the first day it was announced, and we have already answered more than a dozen related questions. If you are planning to submit a 510k this year, this webinar will show you exactly how to prepare your own request for a 510k pre-sub. You will even receive copies of all of our templates for free.Stop wasting time and register now Are 510k pre sub meetings a waste of time?

Posted in: 510(k)

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Biocompatibility testing questions answered in pre-submission requests

The following is a copy of my responses to someone that submitted biocompatibility testing questions in preparation for the 510k pre-submission webinar that I am hosting Thursday, February 22 @ 4pm EST.

510k pre submission webinar February 22 for LinkedIn.jpg 1024x459 Biocompatibility testing questions answered in pre submission requests

Can you please answer the following biocompatibility testing questions?

This was the request by a person that registered for my live webinar next Thursday. The person asked some great questions that are very similar to other clients I work with. They also asked the biocompatibility testing questions in a way that did not divulge any confidential information–other than to indicate they live in Germany. Therefore, I am sharing my email response with you. Please register for this webinar and submit your own questions. Questions are entered in an open text box, and you have room to ask multiple questions.

1. Does the FDA now already ask for the AET (Analytical evaluation threshold) for chemical analyses?

I’m not an analytical chemist. That would be an awesome question for Thor Rollins at Nelson Labs. He is giving a 1-day workshop on bicompatibility testing on March 20:
 
Nelson Labs is offering a 1-day seminar the day before the 510(k) workshop on biocompatibility ($499): http://news.nelsonlabs.com/education/events/biocompatibility-testing-for-medical-devices-seminar.

 

2. How can I avoid time consuming genotox studies for FDA?

Typically if you perform the “Big 3” (i.e., cytotox, irritation and sensitization), and then you perform chemical characterization, you are often able to prepare a Biological Evaluation Report to explain why there are no identified compounds in the chemical characterization that would warrant performing the genotox studies. This is also often true for the acute toxicity testing and sub-chronic toxicity testing. In order to verify the FDA will accept this approach, you will typically provide a biological evaluation plan (BEP) as part of your pre-submission request. This often saves > $10K.

 

3. And how can I face FDA with a cytotoxic wound dressing but which passed irritation, sensitization, genotox and pyrogenicity tests?
I had a product that contained aluminum. Aluminum is cytotoxic to the cell line that is used in the cytotoxicity testing. However, aluminum does not have a high level of toxicity for the route of administration for that product. You should identify the reason why your product is cytotoxic and then provide an explanation why the device is no toxic for the intended use and duration of contact. This would normally be part of that BEP mentioned above.

 

4. Which genotox tests are state of the art for the FDA?
There are three ways to determine that. One is to look in the recognized standards database on the FDA website. Second is to review the FDA guidance on biocompatibility and application of ISO 10993-1. Finally, you can ask the FDA about the suitability of another test you want to perform during a pre-sub. If they prefer a different test, they will say so in an email response and they are available for discussion by conference call during the pre-sub meeting to clarify their response.

 

Note: I did not answer this question outright, because biocompatibility testing (and all verification testing) requirements change over time. In fact, for one 510k project I had 7 different standards change just prior to submission. During a pre-submission meeting, the FDA should make you aware of coming changes to these tests. Also, the better biocompatibility testing labs, such as Nelson Labs, are also aware of the changes before they are implemented. This is because personnel like Thor Rollins personally get involved in the revision of standards.

 

5. Will the meeting be recorded since I live in Germany?
Yes, all of my webinars are recorded. I will email you a link for downloading it and you will receive that email in the morning after the webinar. You can also schedule calls with me as a follow-up using the following link:

 

 

Future Related Events

In addition to the 1-day seminar by Thor Rollins on biocompatibility testing (March 20), we are also offering a 2-day 510k workshop at the same Embassy Suites Hotel in Las Vegas. The cost is $995 (discount for multiple attendees). Here’s the link for registration–or email rob@13485cert.com and I can invoice your company.

Posted in: 510(k)

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FDA User Fee Increase for FY 2018 – Strategic Implications

This article identifies strategic implications of the FDA user fee increase for FY 2018 that was published by the FDA last week.

FY 2018 MDUFA Fees FDA User Fee Increase for FY 2018   Strategic Implications

You didn’t know the FDA user fee increased?

In August, the FDA publishes the new FDA user fee schedule for the next fiscal year, which begins on October 1. Last year the FDA published an updated small business guidance document in early August that included the fee schedule. This year, the release of the FY 2018 FDA user fee schedule was delayed until the end of August, because the re-authorization of user fees was not approved until August 18, 2017.

The MDUFA IV user fee schedule was negotiated in October of 2016, and the new user fee schedule proposed to increase the user fees to $999.5 million. That negotiated plan called for an increase in standard fees for 510k submissions while keeping small business fees lower. The final enacted MDUFA IV user fees follows this plan. There is a significant difference between PMA fees and 510k fees in the new fee schedule. There was a 33% increase for all PMA-related standard and small business fees. However, standard 510k fees increased by 125%, while small business fees for a 510k increased by 13%. The establishment registration fees increased by 37%, and there is still no discounted registration fee for small businesses. Finally, the biggest change is there will now be a fee for De Novo applications.

Implications of the De Novo FDA user fee increase

Congress authorized the MDUFA III fees in 2012 for five years, and there were no fees associated with De Novo applications. In 2012, the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA) also streamlined the De Novo application process. The purpose of having no fees, and for streamlining the process, was to encourage medical device innovation. However, only 40% of De Novo application reviews were completed within 150 days during 2015 and 2016. The balance of the applications required 200 to 600+ days to complete. Negotiations between the FDA and industry in 2016 resulted in an agreement to trade an increase in FDA user fees for a decrease in the review time required for 510k clearance. However, the FDA also committed to decreasing the De Novo application review time to less than 150 days as follows:

De Novo application decision goals for MDUFA IV 1024x118 FDA User Fee Increase for FY 2018   Strategic Implications
Unfortunately, the agreed FDA user fee for De Novo applications in MDUFA IV for FY 2018 are $93,229 as a standard fee and $23,307 for small businesses. During the past 5 years, during MDUFA III, companies that felt they had a potential De Novo application would try to persuade the FDA that a borderline 510k submission should be a De Novo application instead. However, under MDUFA IV you will be more likely to persuade the FDA that a borderline classification should be considered for a 510k submission instead of a De Novo application.

In addition, you should plan your De Novo application more carefully than you might have for a free application. Pre-submission meeting requests should always be submitted during the development process, and these pre-sub requests should be submitted at least 90 days prior to your design freeze. Special consideration should also be devoted to risk analysis and gathering preliminary data to demonstrate the effectiveness of the risk controls you select to ensure that the clinical benefits of your device outweigh the residual risks of the device after implementing risk controls. Ideally, you will gather enough evidence to create a draft special controls guidance document to submit to the FDA as a supplement to your pre-submission meeting.

If you are planning a De Novo application for FY 2018, you should expect your FDA reviewer to pay special attention to ensuring that there are no unnecessary delays in the review process. You should also monitor the FDA recent final guidance webpage for release of a final guidance document for De Novo applications. The draft guidance was released on August 14, 2014. Creating a final guidance will probably be priority for FY 2018.

Implications of the 510k FDA user fee increase

The standard FDA user fee for a 510k increased 125% from $4,690 to $10,566. However, the absolute dollar amount of a 510k submission is still less than cost of biocompatibility testing or sterilization validation. Therefore, the increase should not significantly decrease the number of submissions. However, the small business fee has only been increased by 13%. Therefore, if you are a small business (i.e., income < $100 million), you should complete an application for small business qualification as soon as you can (i.e., October 1, 2017) to make sure that you are eligible for the discounted fee when you submit your next 510k submission. If you need help preparing your small business qualification form, there will be a webinar on this topic Friday, September 8, 2017.

When you are planning a 510k submission, you should also determine if your device product classification is eligible for third party review. In the past, the increased cost of the third party review made submission of a 510k to a third party reviewer unattractive. However, the fees for third party reviews range from $9,000 to $12,000 typically. Therefore, its possible that there may be no difference in the fee for a third party review unless your company is a qualified small business.

Implications of establishment registration FDA user fee increase

The increase in the annual establishment registration fee is 37% for medical device firms to $4,624. If you are already registered as a medical device firm, you should increase your annual budget for the establishment registration fee accordingly. If you are about to launch a new product, remember that you are required to register and list your product within 30 days of distribution of your product. Therefore, if shipments are going to begin in September, you don’t need to register until October (i.e., after the start of the new fiscal year). Therefore, you may be able to avoid paying the FY 2017 establishment registration and only pay the FY 2018 establishment registration. This would not be the case for foreign firms that need to import the product prior to distribution.

What you can do about the FDA user fee increase now

You may not be able to change the user fee schedule for FY 2018, but there are three things you can do now to improve your situation. First, if you are a small business, you can speak to your accounting department and get them to provide a copy of the FY 2016 tax return so that you can complete the small business qualification form on October 1. Second, you should contact Regulatory Technology Services and the Third Party Review Group to obtain a quote for a third party review of your 510k submission instead of submitting directly to the FDA. Third, you should add a reminder to your calendar for August 1, 2018 to start reviewing the FDA website and other sources for a FY 2019 FDA user fee schedule.

Learning how to submit a small business qualification form

If you have not completed a small business qualification form before, you can learn how to prepare your application for small business qualification by registering for my webinar on Friday, September 8, 2017.

Posted in: 510(k), FDA

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Performance Qualification (PQ) for EO Sterilization Validation

Article explains requirements for a performance qualification (PQ) of EO sterilization validation and how it is different from other PQ process validations.

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Mind your ps and qs 1024x291 Performance Qualification (PQ) for EO Sterilization Validation

Performance Qualification (PQ) – What is the difference between an IQ, OQ and PQ?

When you are performing a process validation, the acronyms IQ, OQ and PQ sometimes cause confusion. IQ is the installation qualification of the equipment used in your validated process. The purpose of the installation qualification is to make sure that your equipment was installed correctly–this includes calibration and connection to utilities. OQ is the operational qualification. The purpose of the operational qualification is to make sure that the equipment you are using is capable of operating over the range of parameters that you specify in order to make your product. The PQ is a performance qualification. The purpose of the performance qualification is to ensure that you can consistently make product within specifications (i.e., repeatable).

Different Definitions for Operational Qualification (OQ)

The GHTF guidance document for process validation provides the following definition for an OQ: “Establishing by objective evidence process control limits and action levels which result in product that meets all predetermined requirements.” ISO 11135-1:2014, the international standard for ethylene oxide (EO) sterilization validation, provides a slightly different definition for an OQ: “process of obtaining and documenting evidence that installed equipment operates within predetermined limits when used in accordance with its operational procedures.” The difference in these two definitions is important, because the OQ is typically performed by contract sterilizers and does not need to be repeated unless there is a significant change or maintenance to the sterilizer that requires repeating the OQ. In contrast, when you perform an OQ for packaging, the OQ is specific to the packaging materials you are going to be sealing and therefore a new OQ is required whenever new packaging materials are developed. For EO sterilization, the analogous step of the validation process is called a microbial performance qualification (MPQ).

Performance Qualification (PQ) = MPQ + PPQ

A performance qualification (PQ) for ethylene oxide sterilization validation consists of two parts: 1) microbial performance qualification (MPQ), and 2) physical performance qualification (PPQ). The microbial performance qualification is intended to determine the minimum process parameters for the EO sterilizer sufficient to ensure product bioburden is killed. These parameters are referred to as the half-cycle, because the full production cycle will be twice as long in duration. For example, a half-cycle consisting of 3 injections will correspond to a full cycle of 6 injections.

What are fractional cycles?

Fractional cycles are typically shorter in duration than the duration of a half-cycle. The purpose of a fractional cycle is to demonstrate that external biological indicators (BIs) located outside of your product, but inside the sterilization load, are more difficult to kill than internal BIs. Fractional cycles are also be used to demonstrate that the product bioburden is less resistant than the internal BIs. To achieve both of these objectives, it is typical to perform two fractional cycles at different conditions to achieve 100% kill of internal BIs and partial external BI kill in one fractional cycle, and 100% kill of product bioburden but only partial kill of internal BIs in the other fractional cycle. When your goal is partial kill, you should also target more than one positive BI, because this reduces the likelihood that poor technique resulted in a BI positive from growth.

Microbial Performance Qualification (MPQ)

The microbial performance qualification (MPQ) typically consists of three half cycles and one or more fractional cycles. 100% kill of external BIs is not required for the MPQ during a half cycle–only the internal BIs must be 100% killed, but the external BIs are only useful if 100% kill of the external BIs is achieved in the full cycles. If you are re-validating the sterilization process, you are only required to complete one half cycle and one fractional cycle. For re-validation, the fractional cycle is intended to achieve 100% kill of product bioburden but only partial kill of internal BIs in order to verify that the product bioburden remains less resistant to sterilization than the internal BIs. You are also required to perform bioburden measurements of non-sterile product for the initial MPQ and re-validation to demonstrate that bioburden can be adequately recovered from the product and measured.

Physical Performance Qualification (PPQ)

The physical performance qualification (PPQ) typically consists of three full cycles and measurement of EO residuals in accordance with ISO 10993-7:2008. If PPQ is performed during the MPQ, then it is only necessary to complete one full cycle–assuming the MPQ consists of at least three half cycles. If you are performing a re-validation of the sterilization process, then you are required to perform three full cycles and measurement of EO residuals.

Repeatability, Reproducibility, Product Variability and Environmental Factors

Typically a performance qualification (PQ) is intended to verify that the same person can repeat the process multiple times, other people can reproduce the first person’s results and any variation product from lot to lot will not prevent the process from producing acceptable product. In addition, any variation in environmental factors should be assessed during a PQ. In sterilization processes, however, the equipment is typically automated. Therefore, variation between operators is typically a non-issue. In addition, sterilization lots also typically consist of a large volume of product where multiple samples are tested for sterility. Therefore, performing three runs sufficiently challenges the repeatability and reproducibility of the sterilization process–including any product variability. The issue of environmental variations in heat and humidity are addressed by designing preconditioning cycles into the sterilization process. Sensors are included in each validation load to verify that the process specifications were achieved and maintained for temperature and humidity, but the sensors also help to identify the worst-case locations in a load to use for sampling and placement of BIs.

If you are interested in learning more about sterilization validation, please read our blog from last year on evaluation of the need to re-validate your sterilization process or you can watch our webinar on sterilization and shelf-life testing. You can also purchase our procedure for EO sterilization validation by clicking on the link below.

Purchase the EO Sterilization Validation Procedure (SYS-031) – $299

EO Sterilization Cycle 1 150x150 Performance Qualification (PQ) for EO Sterilization Validation
SYS-031 EO Sterilization Validation Procedure

This new procedure defines the requirements for ethylene oxide (EO) sterilization validation and revalidation which has been outsourced to a contract sterilizer.

Price: $299.00

 

Posted in: Process Validation, Validation

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Safety Agency Mark – Is it required for medical electrical equipment?

This article explains when a safety agency mark is required for electrical medical equipment for products sold in the USA.

Safety Marks 1024x228 Safety Agency Mark – Is it required for medical electrical equipment?

What is a safety agency mark?

Examples of a safety agency mark include UL, CSA, Intertek, SGS Q-mark and other marks indicating that a recognized testing lab completed the electrical safety testing and the device passed the testing. Health Canada requires a safety agency mark to certify approval by a lab that is accredited by the Standards Council of Canada (SCC). However, device manufacturers are frequently unclear what the requirements are in the USA for electrical medical equipment regarding a safety agency mark.

Leo Eisner’s explanation of the requirements for a safety agency mark in the USA

Leo Eisner of Eisner Safety was kind enough to answer this question. The simple answer is yes. In the US there is a requirement for equipment in the workplace to have a NRTL Safety Agency Approval Mark for the applicable category on the device to meet OSHA requirements. The requirements for NRTL approval of electric equipment (or medical electrical equipment) are in 29 CFR 1910.303(a) and 29 CFR 1910.307(c). Because of these requirements, most electric equipment used in the workplace must be NRTL approved. Biomeds maintain and track all the medical equipment in hospitals and clinical environments, and the biomeds usually insist upon an Agency Approval Mark. However, the biomeds may not be aware of the NRTL requirements.

What is a NRTL?

A NRTL is a Nationally Recognized Test Lab that is approved or authorized by Occupational Safety & Hazard Administration (OSHA) for specific device test standards (i.e UL 60601-1 [National deviation version of IEC 60601-1, 2nd ed. medical electrical equipment standard] and / or AAMI ES 60601-1 [National deviation version of IEC 60601-1, ed 3.1], among many other standards) to allow a US Mark to be placed on approved devices that meet the applicable standard. Not all NRTL labs can test to the listed medical electrical standards for medical electrical equipment to allow a US mark be placed on devices. You need to go to the OSHA NRTL site to verify that the test lab can issue a US mark. Within the labs link you can find which standards each test lab is allowed to issue US Marks for.

Posted in: IEC 60601

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Mandatory Problem Reporting Procedure for Reporting to Health Canada

The Mandatory Problem Reporting Procedure defines process and regulatory requirements for submitting adverse event reports to Health Canada.

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SYS 035 Mandatory Problem Reporting Procedure 1024x530 Mandatory Problem Reporting Procedure for Reporting to Health Canada

Sections of the Mandatory Problem Reporting Procedure (SYS-035)

As with all of the procedures I write, I included the following sections in the Mandatory Problem Reporting Procedure:

  1. Purpose
  2. Scope
  3. References and Relationships
  4. Definitions
  5. Document Approval
  6. Revision History
  7. Responsibilities and Authorities
  8. Procedure
  9. Monitoring and Measurement
  10. Training/Retraining
  11. Risk Management
  12. Records

Details of the Mandatory Problem Reporting Procedure

This procedure includes exact quotes from the most recent amendment of the Canadian Medical Devices Regulations updated last on April 25, 2017. The procedure is detailed enough to enable a person that has not submitted a mandatory problem report before to do so. In addition, there are detailed instructions for importers of your device–who are also required to submit mandatory problem reports. The procedure is 5 pages in length and includes hyperlinks to the Health Canada webpages specific to the guidance document for Mandatory Problem Reporting.

Unique Features of this Mandatory Problem Reporting Procedure

Well-written procedures typically state that you should review and update your risk management documentation when you are investigating complaints–especially when there is a new adverse event to report. However, this procedure includes references to the risk management process and makes recommendations on specifically what to review and update. Specifically, it recommends that the scale used to quantitatively estimate severity of potential harm be aligned to identify which scores require mandatory problem reporting, and which scores do not require reporting.

The section of the procedure that is specific to monitoring and measurement also identifies specific metrics related to the mandatory problem reporting process to track and report to Top Management during Management Review meetings. These metrics include tracking the closure of complaints, preliminary reporting timelines and final reporting timelines. The procedure even includes links to the post-market surveillance procedure to remind you to update your post-market surveillance plan to ask questions related to new or revised risks related to the adverse event you are reporting.

Additional Training Available on the Canadian Medical Devices Regulations

Medical Device Academy recorded a webinar on the Canadian Medical Devices Regulations (CMDR and CMDCAS). In addition, Mary Vater, one of our new consultants, will be presenting a new live webinar on Canadian Medical Device Licensing on May 24, 2017.

Purchase the Mandatory Problem Reporting Procedure (SYS-035) – $299

SYS 035 Mandatory Problem Reporting Procedure 1 150x150 Mandatory Problem Reporting Procedure for Reporting to Health Canada
SYS-035 Mandatory Problem Reporting Procedure

This new procedure defines the process and the regulatory requirements for submitting mandatory problem reports to Health Canada for adverse events that are reportable.

Price: $299.00

Posted in: Health Canada

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IFU validation is not a risk reduction – Deviation 7

This article describes how to perform IFU validation prior to commercialization and how to conduct post-market surveillance to ensure that your IFU continues to be suitable as your user population and patient population expand.

IFU Validation and PMS IFU validation is not a risk reduction   Deviation 7

Most companies create an IFU for a new product by plagiarism. They merely copy a competitor’s IFU and change the name. If the IFU is created by a regulatory expert, the IFU will be nearly identical to the competitor IFU. However, if the IFU is created by a marketing person, the IFU will explain how your product is total different from the competitor product. Neither approach is effective.

Creating a risk-based IFU

EN ISO 14971:2012 identifies deviations between the ISO 14971:2007 international standard and the three EU Directives. However, deviation #7 is specific to labeling and instructions for use. Even if your product is not CE marked, you should be developing a risk-based approach to IFUs. The first priority of risk controls is to eliminate and reduce risks by design, manufacture and selection of materials. The second priority is to implement protective measures such as alarms to warn users of risks. The last priority for risk controls is to inform users of residual risks. The best practice is to utilize a risk traceability matrix to document each of the risk controls you implemented to eliminate and reduce risks of hazards identified.

The EN version of ISO 14971 will not allow you to reduce risks quantitatively in your risk assessment for information provided to users about risks, because this type of risk control is not completely effective. However, you are required to verify that each residual risk is disclosed to users in your IFU and you must validate that your warnings, precautions and contraindications are adequately identified such that users understand the residual risks. You are also required to determine any user training needed to ensure specified performance and safe use of your medical device in accordance with ISO 13485:2016, Clause 7.2.1d. Clause 7.2.2d) requires that your company ensure that user training is made available. Any user training you provide should also be validated for effectiveness.

When to perform IFU validation

Some companies ask physicians that helped them with product development review draft IFUs. However, these physicians are already familiar with your product, your company and they are highly skilled in the specific procedures your device will be used for. After your own experts have make their final edits to your draft IFU, you now need a “fresh set of eyes.”  The best approach is to validate the effectiveness of your IFU with potential users that don’t know you or your company. If your product requires animal performance testing or human clinical studies, you could use these studies to validate your IFU. However, I recommend conducting a simulated use study prior to conducting animal or human studies. Conducting a simulated use study prior to animal and human studies can prevent deviations from your documented protocols that were caused by inadequate review of the IFUs.

Methods of IFU validation

The best method for validating your IFU is to perform a simulated use study or human factors study. The FDA published a human factors guidance document that can help you assess the risk of human factors and ergonomics. The FDA guidance requires that you identify your intended user population(s). For each individual population of users, you are required to have a minimum of 15 users for your study. If your product is not for specific indications, you may be able to randomly select 15 users at a few sites. However, if your device is intended for two different specialties, then you need to 30 users–15 for each specialty.  I recommend recording a video of simulated use studies too. Videos identify small details that you might miss, and clips from the videos are useful in creating training videos for future users.

Gathering Post-Market Surveillance

Post-market surveillance is not just asking customers if they are satisfied. You need to continue to monitoring adverse event databases, your own complaint database and any service records to determine if there are any new risks and to verify that the risks you identified were accurately estimated with regard to severity and probability of occurrence of harm. In fact, clinical studies and PMS are the only way you can gather data regarding probability of occurrence of harm. When you design your post-market surveillance questions, make sure you include questions specifically targeting the residual risks you identify in your IFU. You should also ask, “What indications do you use this device for. Specifically, please identify the intended diagnosis, treatment and patient populations.” This wording is more effective than asking if a physician is using your product “off label.”

Revalidation of IFU after labeling changes

Changes to labeling and IFUs should always be considered design changes and may require revalidation. If the change is in response to a complaint or CAPA, then it is crucial that you revalidate the IFU and labeling to verify effectiveness of your corrective action. Any validation should be documented, reviewed and approved prior to implementation and acceptance criteria should be determined ahead of time. Your acceptance criteria should be quantitative so you can objectively determine if the change is effective or not. You might be able to copy your previous IFU validation protocol or simulated use protocol and simply repeat the validation exactly as you did before with new users. However, sometimes the reason why the IFU was not 100% effective in the past is that the risk you are addressing in the revised IFU was not evaluated adequately in the original simulated use protocol.

New webinar for risk-based IFU validation and PMS

If you want to learn more about using a risk-based approach to developing IFUs, validating IFUs and performing post-market surveillance to monitor the effectiveness of your IFU, then please click on the webinar link below.

IFU Validation Webinar Button 300x62 IFU validation is not a risk reduction   Deviation 7

If you are interested in ISO 14971 training, we are conducting a risk management training webinar on October 19, 2018.

Posted in: Clinical Studies & Post-Market Surveillance, Validation

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