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NSE letter: A CAPA plan for your 510k process

Cry, complain, call the reviewer…you might feel a little better, but you received an NSE letter, and tomorrow you still can’t sell your device.

NSE Letter NSE letter: A CAPA plan for your 510k process

Instead, try approaching an NSE letter like a CAPA investigation. What is the issue? The FDA determined that your device is not substantially equivalent to the predicate you selected. What is the root cause? There are four (4) possible root causes.

NSE Letter Cause #1: You failed to verify that the predicate is a legally marketed device.

If your predicate device is not legally marketed, you need to select a new predicate and resubmit. However, it is doubtful that your device would pass the refusal to accept the (RTA) screening process if the predicate was not legally marketed. If your predicate was not registered and listed with the FDA (check using this link), then you should have submitted a pre-sub request to determine if the agency has any problem with using the device you chose as a predicate. This is an essential question if the manufacturer is no longer in business, and the product is no longer for sale.

NSE Letter Cause #2: You failed to evaluate the substantial equivalence of your device’s intended use with the predicate.

The intended use of your predicate device is documented for every potential predicate since February 1992 on FDA Form 3881–which you can download along with the 510(k) clearance letter for the predicate. There is also an intended use documented for every device category in the applicable regulation for that device. This intended use is more generic than FDA Form 3881, but both are applicable. The FDA Form 3881 you submit for your device must be equivalent. I recommend a point-by-point comparison with regard to the following elements: 1) OTC vs. prescription use, 2) user, 3) patient population, 4) illness or medical condition, 5) duration of use, 6) environment of use and 7) target part of the body. Any difference can raise new issues of risk and may result in an NSE decision. However, the FDA typically will work with the company to modify the wording of FDA Form 3881 to ensure the intended use is equivalent or to make sure you provide clinical evidence to address the differences. In my pre-submission requests, I include a comparison document for the intended use to ensure that the FDA is aware of any differences in the intended use.

Cause #3: You failed to convince the FDA that technological differences do not raise different questions of safety and effectiveness.

Unless your device is identical in every way to the predicate device, you will have to persuade the FDA that differences do not raise questions of safety and effectiveness. At the beginning of the 510(k) process, it is helpful to document technological differences systematically. Specifically, this should include: 1) materials, 2) design, 3) energy source, and 4) other features. For each difference, you must justify why the difference does not raise different issues, or you must provide data to prove it. It is also possible that you were not aware of questions of safety and performance raised by technological differences. To avoid this problem, you can submit a detailed device description and draft labeling to the FDA in a pre-sub meeting request. If you ask questions about differences in a pre-sub meeting, you can avoid an NSE letter.

Cause #4: You failed to provide data demonstrating equivalence.

For each difference, you should determine an objective method for demonstrating that the difference is equivalent in safety and performance to the predicate. Your test method can be proposed to the FDA in a pre-sub request before testing. The FDA sees more than 3,000 companies propose testing methods to demonstrate equivalence each year. They have more experience than you do. Ask them in a pre-sub before you test anything. There may be a better test method, or you might need to adjust your test method. Sometimes results are unclear, but there might be another test you can perform to demonstrate equivalence, and then you can resubmit your 510(k). Possibly you were unaware of the need to perform a test, and you were unable to complete a test within the 180 days the FDA allowed for submitting additional information. The good news is you now have all the time you need.

What is similar between all four causes of the NSE letter?

In all four root causes identified above, you could benefit greatly from the pre-sub meeting. Now you have an NSE letter, and you know which of the four reasons why your submission did not result in 510(k) clearance. However, the correction to your NSE letter may not be clear. Therefore, you should consider requesting a pre-sub meeting as quickly as you can. Most companies choose not to submit a pre-sub meeting request because they don’t want to wait 60-75 days. However, sometimes pre-sub meetings are scheduled sooner. In addition, 60-75 days is not as costly as receiving a second NSE letter.

Prevent a future NSE letter by requesting a pre-sub meeting

Regardless of your corrections for the current NSE letter, you should prevent future occurrences by planning to submit a pre-sub meeting request for every submission. I try to help clients gather all the information they need without a pre-sub meeting, but each new 510(k) reminds me why a pre-sub meeting is so valuable. You always learn something that helps you with the preparation of your 510(k).

Help with Pre-sub meeting requests

The FDA published a guidance document for pre-sub meeting requests. If you need additional help, there is a webinar on this topic.

Posted in: 510(k), CAPA, Design Control

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EU MDR delay – a huge miss

The industry is cheering for the EU MDR delay, but the historic amendment represents a huge missed opportunity to amend the EU IVDR.EU Regulation 1 year delay 1 EU MDR delay   a huge missOn Friday, April 17, 2020, the European Parliament voted 693 votes in favor, one against, and two abstentions for the EU MDR delay. Parliament voted in favor of a one year delay for the date of entry into force of the EU MDR from May 26, 2020, to May 26, 2021. Although device companies were confident that European regulators would delay the implementation of the EU MDR, regulators repeatedly insisted that it was critical to renew the public confidence in the European device regulations. Implementation of the EU MDR would not be delayed. Then the COVID19 pandemic happened, and the EU Council and Parliament cooperated in the creation of a historic amendment to delay the implementation date.

What else was changed in this amendment?

The Commission originally proposed the delay of implementation due to the public health emergency caused by the COVID19 virus. The Council moved forward with the proposal as a first reading, and Parliament adopted the first reading with only two minor corrections. The amendment also includes an essential amendment to Article 59, “Derogation from the conformity assessment procedures.” The amendment allows the Commission to issue Implementing Acts that extend emergency measures from a single member state to the whole EU. This effectively creates an additional emergency market access mechanism under the three current directives before the EU MDR comes in to force. This could prove to be important in the current health crisis created by the coronavirus.

Manufacturers are still not out of trouble

Notified Bodies (NBs) were not anticipating a delay in the EU MDR implementation date. Therefore, NBs that had not applied for designation were expecting to no longer need to support the MDD and the AIMD after May 26, 2020. Personnel have left those NBs in many cases, and the resources to support the MDD and AIMD for another year may not be available.

NBs were refusing to quote new CE Certifications under the MDD and AIMD, because there was not enough time to complete new certifications before May 26, 2020. However, with the EU MDR delay, there is an additional year in which to process other applications for CE Certification. The question is whether NBs will have the resources to process additional applications under the current directives.

The transition deadlines for the use of inventory have not been delayed, and therefore manufacturers now have one year less of a transition from the directives to the EU MDR. Any certificates issued under the MDD and AIMD will still become invalid on May 26, 2024, because this amendment did not extend the latest date of validity for certificates issued under current directives. The NB bottleneck has also not disappeared. Any NBs that have not successfully been designated under the EU MDR by the end of this year will not be a position to significantly help alleviate the bottleneck before the delayed date of enforcement.

Why wasn’t the EU IVDR delayed along with the EU MDR delay?

Implementation of the EU IVDR is arguably in a more difficult position that the EU MDR, because there are not enough NBs that applied for designation under the EU IVDR, and the IVD industry must shift from approximately 20% requiring NB involvement to 80% requiring NB involvement by May 26, 2022. This is expected to result in a shortage of CE Marked IVD products in the EU, and the bottleneck industry has experienced for medical devices will be more severe for the IVD manufacturers. The Commission could still initiate a proposal to delay the implementation of the EU IVDR. Even, it would seem logical to take this opportunity to delay the date of both regulations coming into force at one time when there was almost unanimous support for the amendment.

The Commission’s original proposal stated, “As the coronavirus crisis increases demands for certain vital medical devices, it is crucial to avoid any further difficulties or risks of potential shortages or delays in the availability of such devices caused by capacity limitations of authorities or conformity assessment bodies related to the implementation of the Medical Devices Regulation.” This argument for delaying the EU MDR would seem to be equally valid for the EU IVDR. Also, the amendment made to Article 59 could be made to the equivalent section of the EU IVDR (i.e., Article 54). In the current crisis, the power of the Commission to expand the availability of in vitro diagnostic tests is critical. Therefore, limiting the amendment to the EU MDR seems like a huge missed opportunity.

What the EU IVDR needs that was not possible for the EU MDR delay

The EU MDR was less than 60 days from the date of enforcement when the Commission presented its proposal for the amendment to delay the EU MDR. Therefore, it was necessary to forgo formal procedures for review and approval of amendments. We have more than 750 days until the date of enforcement for the EU IVDR. Therefore, there is more time for the Commission to think carefully about any additional changes that might be desired in the fight against a global pandemic. The need for rapid market access for in vitro diagnostic tests, both molecular and serological tests, will be crucial in the coming months for identifying people with active infections and resistance to the virus. Hopefully, the Commission will watch, learn, and take preventive action in the form of an amendment to the EU IVDR.

Posted in: CE Marking

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Design change control – best practices in managing changes?

This article describes best practices in managing your design change control process, including a list of the ten most common mistakes.

Tire Change Image for Change Control Blog Design change control   best practices in managing changes?

During every visit by FDA inspectors, and CE Marking auditors, the changes you have made will be reviewed. The focus by inspectors and auditors is: 1) to verify that your design verification and validation was adequate for the changes, and 2) to verify that necessary regulatory approval of the changes was obtained. Due to this scrutiny, your design change control process is one of the most important processes to manage well.

Ten most common mistakes in managing design change control

  1. Failure to carefully update drawings and specifications. Often these errors are typos, but it is essential to perform a thorough review of all your drawing dimensions, tolerances, notes, etc.
  2. Failure to update procedures and work instructions, especially inspection instructions. As a quality system becomes more mature, it becomes harder to identify all the places where a reference is found. If you have a 100% electronic quality system, with the ability to include cross-references, finding the related documents is easier. MasterControl uses “info cards.” It is possible to do this in any system by adding tags to your master document list. The “tags” can be standards, regulations, other procedures, and forms.
  3. Failure to validate inspection methods. Often a new inspection tool or method may appear to be better, but it is important to re-validate inspection methods whether you are changing: 1) design, 2) inspection tools, or 3) inspection methods. A Gauge R&R study is an example of one method for the validation of inspection methods.
  4. Failure to re-verify and re-validate your design. In general, whenever you make a design or process change, you need to repeat your verification and validation that was initially performed. You may be able to abbreviate the verification and validation testing. Still, if you cannot provide a justification for the abbreviated method, then you should use the same method and the same acceptance criteria. This presents an enormous burden for any device that required a clinical study to demonstrate safety and effectiveness. This is also why it is so expensive to implement changes in CE Marking for Class III devices, and FDA approved Class III PMA devices. In both cases, there is typically a large supplement required for regulatory approval.
  5. Failure to update your risk management documentation and post-market surveillance plans. Risk management files and post-market surveillance plans are meant to be “living documents.” Therefore, whenever you make changes, even minor ones, you should document your evaluation of the need to update the risk management file or your PMS plan. If the changes planned are related to a CAPA or recall, it is critical to verify the effectiveness of the changes made. This verification is both verification of the design change and the effectiveness of your risk controls. It will also be critical to document the change in the PMS plan by identifying potential confusion and use errors associated with your change.
  6. Failure to change UDI. Most companies created their change control procedure in the early stages of their quality system, and very few revisions and updates are made to the change control procedure and associated forms. Your UDI process and procedure are probably much more recent, and many companies forget to add UDI requirements to their change control process. It is important to update your device identifier, not only for regulatory compliance but also as a tool to help your company better track which quality issues are related to the previous version of your device and which quality issues are limited to the new version.
  7. Since the EU MDR requires that DI portion of your UDI is included in your Declaration of Conformity, this is another document to make sure you update when you make a design change. I recommend identifying the date (or lot) of first CE Marking and last CE Marking for your previous version in an updated Declaration of Conformity. Then you will also need the date of first CE Marking for the new version of your product. This can create a very long and complicated declaration. Still, it is important to control these transitions in anticipation of potential complaint investigations during the period of time when both versions are in distribution/use.
  8. Failure to update your technical file and device master record (DMR). Every time you change a drawing, specification, tolerance, testing method, etc. you need to update your technical documentation and DMR. This is why using a Technical File Index, and DMR Index are considered best practices. These tools just list all the related controlled documents and the current revision. The best indices will also identify how revisions were controlled (e.g., change notification or design change order). You might even identify which CE Certificate or 510(k) clearance is associated with each item in the index. This is especially helpful when you have multiple accessories involved. FDA inspectors will verify that you updated your DMR, and they will review the MDR for design changes that were not adequately validated. Your Notified Body will also review changes made to your Technical File to make sure you have notified them of changes or obtained prior approval to commercial release.
  9. Failure to document your rationale for no new regulatory approval. Whenever you make a change, you need to document your rationale for whether a new regulatory submission is required. You should have a systematic method that is documented. The FDA has published two guidance documents with decision trees to assist with this decision for 510(k) cleared products: 1) Deciding When to Submit a 510(k) for a Change to an Existing Device, and 2) Deciding When to Submit a 510(k) for a Software Change to an Existing Device. For CE Marking and Canadian Licensing, there are guidance documents on determining when a submission is required for significant changes. Regardless of your decision, you need to document the decision, and the form you use to document this decision should be a controlled form within your change control process.
  10. Failure to notify suppliers of your changes. Whenever you make a change, it is critical to notify your suppliers of the change. However, you also need to determine if the change may impact any open purchase orders. Will you need to rework or scrap any work in progress? Will you need to coordinate the use of components so that all components are used up before the change? There may even be obsolete inventory that you need to disposition as “use-as-is” or “rework.”

Create controlled templates for verification and validation testing

For every verification and validation test that you perform, you should have some kind of documented testing plan or formal protocol. Plans are more appropriate when the testing will be outsourced to a lab that has their testing protocols. If you are performing the testing in-house, you should have a formal protocol that references any internal testing work instructions that may be relevant and any testing standards that apply. The protocols should also be designed for “fill-in-the-blank” use to facilitate reuse of the protocol for multiple devices. Protocols should also identify the following required elements: 1) facilities needed for testing, 2) calibrated devices needed for measurement, 3) any controlled documents or standard referenced in the protocol, 4) sample requirements, 5) acceptance criteria, and 6) statistical rationale for sample sizes. The FDA also released a guidance document defining the format and content for testing reports. Whenever a standard is revised, it will also be important to assess the impact on current regulatory approval. CE Marked products will need to be retested to the new standards, or at least a scientific justification must be provided. By maintaining these plans and protocols as controlled documents, you will be able to execute testing plans and protocols much more quickly and consistently. You may also want to consider maintaining an appendix for testing plans that identifies any vendors and contacts for obtaining quotations for new testing.

Organizing design change control approval forms

One of the biggest mistakes people make is to try and streamline questions down to checkboxes or yes/no questions. For example, don’t ask the question, “Is 510(k) clearance required for this change?” Instead, require the person always to fill out a form to document the decision for whether a 510(k) is required or not–which should also be a controlled form. Don’t ask the person if there is an inventory that is affected by the change. Instead, ask the person to identify how many units are at each stage of the process (i.e., pending purchase orders, inspection quarantine, and finished good inventory). Then ask the person to identify the disposition for the product at each stage. This would typically be documented with a nonconforming material record (i.e., NCMR). You should also define which roles and responsibilities complete each part of your form unless you have a small company where key individuals are responsible for multiple roles.

Who should approve design changes?

There is no specific requirement for who must review and approve changes, but each document that is revised and updated will need to be reviewed and approved by the same functions that approved the previous version. Therefore, it would make sense that the same functions that reviewed and approved the design in a final design review should also be involved in the review and approval of a design change for the same device. There is no requirement for an independent reviewer for design change review and approval. Still, I have observed so many mistakes, and I think an independent reviewer and approver are extremely valuable for design changes.

What if you are facing a deadline

There is always pressure from peers and superiors to release design changes to the market as soon as possible. In theory, everything new is better, but this is often untrue. Forcing everyone to follow your change control process is intended to prevent the release of a product that is not ready for release. Therefore, you should fill out as much of your design change approval form at the beginning of a design change as possible. This will help everyone identify the documentation updates at the beginning. All the documentation and testing that is required should be planned, target dates for completion of each update should be documented, and the person responsible for each updated document should be identified. By documenting your plan and maintaining that plan, everyone will know what needs to be completed before a modified device can be released. By controlling the changes in this way, it becomes the responsibility of the whole team to make sure the responsible person and on-time complete each document. If you adopt this strategy, more device changes will be released on-time. You will also find that fewer mistakes will be made, and the team will share the burden of meeting launch deadlines.

Are “full” design controls required?

For minor design changes, you don’t want to apply “full” design controls and create a new design history file (DHF). However, you may want to create a shorter version of a design plan to document what level of control is required and how the project will be managed. This could be as short as a page, but it is likely to be several pages. The following is a list providing examples of things you might document in the abbreviated plan for control of design changes:

  1. Previous regulatory approvals [e.g., 510(k) number]
  2. Applicable Technical File or DMR Index that will be updated
  3. Any new risks identified
  4. Any new applicable standards
  5. Approved Design Inputs (indicate if changes are needed)
  6. Design Outputs that need to be updated (consider highlighting in your DMR index)
  7. Changes to your supply chain (e.g., process changes, supplier changes, supplier quality agreements, and process changes)
  8. Process validation and Revalidation required
  9. Labeling and UDI changes
  10. Obsolescence of inventory and reverse/forward compatibility of components
  11. Impact on service procedures and/or providers
  12. Changes and changeover of internal calibrated tooling and testing stations

What if you are making a design change before a product is commercialized?

The quality system requirement for control of design changes also applies to changes made before the release of a product. During the design process, changes made before “design freeze” will be frequent. For these changes, you want to make the process as simple as possible. Once you begin purchasing capital equipment and performing verification or validation testing, now the design changes are costly. This is when you really must have tight control of changes. Many companies designate that drawings and specifications have begun design transfer when the revision changes from a number (e.g., 1, 2, 3) to a letter (e.g., A, B, C). This helps identify any documentation that will now require tighter design change control. If the design is being conducted internally, then a representative of top management may need to approve changes. If a contract design firm is conducting the design, then approval by the customer may be required for any changes during design transfer.

Additional design change control resources

If your firm needs a procedure for design change control, please visit our webpage for our Change Control Procedure (SYS-006). If you are interested in Design Controls, before the release of a product from the design process, please visit our webpage for the Design Change Procedure (SYS-008).

Posted in: Design Control

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What can you do to save freedom today?

Today Americans remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, but this weekend I had the privilege to visit the Liberty Bell and saw the picture below.Martin Luther King Jr with Liberty Bell rvp 1 19 2020 What can you do to save freedom today?Today, the third Monday in January is the day Americans observe Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday. Dr. King was a leader of the Civil Rights Movement in the USA, but he also stood for peace. I like to think that on February 1, National Freedom Day, he would still be visiting our Liberty Bell in the City of Brotherly Love.

Saturday, I was in Philadelphia, and Tifany and I took the time to visit the Liberty Bell. It has been more than 30 years since I last visited the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. The last time I was with my grandparents as a young boy. My grandfather was a Quaker, and he taught me every day about principles he believed in:

  • Peace
  • Religious Tolerance
  • Helping Others

He lived these principles in everything he did, and I remember most of his gentle greeting when he said hello to someone. If the other person said, “How are you today?” his reply would always be, “All the better for meeting you today.”

This was one of the Quakerisms he developed on his own over his life, and I encourage everyone reading this to do three things:

  1. Use my grandfather’s greeting to make someone smile today.
  2. Help someone else in need today.
  3. Remember that peace was part of Dr. King’s message too.

The image above includes the following description: “In 1959, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Dr. Emmanual Wright, leaders of the modern Civil Rights Movement, participated in the annual tradition of celebrating National Freedom Day, the commemoration of the Thirteenth Amendment, at the Liberty Bell begun by Dr. Wright’s father. Photograph. “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Dr. Emmanuel C. Wright at the Liberty Bell,” February 1, 1959. Courtesy, Urban Archives, Temple University Library.”

Posted in: News

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eCopy Guidance is Finally Updated by FDA

This blog summarizes the changes in FDA policy, which was released on April 27, 2020, as a new eCopy guidance for device manufacturers.

eCopy statement screen capture eCopy Guidance is Finally Updated by FDA

The date of the guidance above was updated, but the changes to the guidance do not represent any changes in policy. It is an update of contact information and a note regarding eCopies for EUA requests. In August 2016, I had a frustrating week where I had three (3) different submissions placed on eCopy hold by the FDA, three (3) separate times, for a total of nine (9) eCopy hold in the same week. That resulted in an extra $175 of FedEx charges and wasted six (6) USB flash drives. The biggest problem was the submission delay experienced by each of our clients that week, and it wasn’t very comfortable. This terrible, no good, dreadful week ultimately resulted in our company creating a new productized service–preparing FDA eCopies for clients and competitor consultants. We also became international experts on the FDA eCopy guidance. I figured if my experience was this painful, there must be other people that were experiencing the same problem, or many people would experience this problem as soon as they tried to submit their next filing with the FDA.

For about 18 months, we helped a lot of companies prepare FDA eCopy submissions, but then there was a government shutdown, and the FDA unofficially changed their policy. A printed paper copy of pre-submissions, 510ks, and De Novo classification requests would no longer be required. You only needed to print a paper copy of your cover letter and include an electronic copy on a CD, DVD, or USB flash drive. Despite this change in policy, many clients still requested the printed copy, because the FDA legislation was not yet changed, and there was not updated guidance. We explained to each client that the policy had changed, and only two clients asked us to print the paper copy anyway.

In the fall of 2018, the unofficial policy became official, but there was still no updated FDA eCopy guidance for us to refer clients to. This situation frequency resulted in questions from clients about how they should phrase the “eCopy Statement” in their submission cover letter. The eCopy guidance that was current in 2018 stated that you should include the following phrase in your cover letter: “This submission includes an eCopy and a paper copy. The eCopy is an exact duplicate of the paper copy.” However, the paper copy consisted only of the cover letter, and the rest of the submission was solely being provided in electronic format.

The FDA released a new pilot version of the eSubmitter software to help companies prepare 510(k) submissions and to streamline the FDA review of submissions in 2018. However, even electronic submissions prepared with eSubmitter still have to be sent by courier or mail to the FDA Document Center. In 2019, the FDA mentioned that they would be releasing new guidance documents regarding electronic submissions. Still, we were also told that the FDA has no near-term plans to enable companies to submit pre-submissions, 510ks, or De Novo classification requests to the FDA via an electronic submissions gateway (ESG).

Finally, on December 16, 2019, the FDA released a new eCopy guidance. The eCopy guidance was updated again on April 27, 2020, but the changes are updated to include emails, updated webpages, and a note regarding EUA requests.

What DID NOT change in the new eCopy guidance?

The file name requirements are identical. You can still organize your submission in volume structure or document-only structure. You are still limited to PDF file sizes of 50 MB. The eCopy will still be problematic for the FDA to upload if your submission exceeds 1 GB. You still need to ship your eCopy to the FDA Document Center, unless you are submitting to CBER instead of CDRH. You can and should continue to use the eCopy validation software module provided by the FDA to ensure that your eCopy will properly upload. The guidance barely even changed in length; it’s just a few pages shorter now.

What DID change in the new eCopy guidance?

Only two things changed in the new guidance. First, there is no mention of an eCopy statement anywhere. Second, you are required to submit a cover letter in paper format, but it does not need to be included in the electronic format (that’s only recommended).

The “new” eCopy process is not any easier than the process we have been using since February 2018. However, we did update our cover letter template. If you would like a copy, please register for our FDA eCopy webinar.

Should you create your own eCopies, or should you outsource?

If my job was Director of Regulatory Affairs (or a similar position), I would definitely outsource. Regulatory managers in companies are swamped with trying to remain compliant with every applicable medical device regulation, every change to applicable standards, and one hour of your time is a lot more important to your boss than $150.

Does it take one hour to create an eCopy?

No, we can prepare, validate, and ship your eCopy in less than 15 minutes. This is only possible because we do this almost every single day of the week, and we are located only 4 miles from a FedEx full-service office with a 6:25 pm cut-off for drop-off. On the last business day before the end of the FDA fiscal year, we average four (4) submissions on that day alone. We know exactly what to do, we know how to fix all of the most common errors, we know our validation software module is up-to-date, and we never run out of USB flash drives.

How long could it take you to create an eCopy?

If you haven’t done an eCopy in that past year, it could easily take you all day to create an eCopy. You have to read the new eCopy guidance document. You need to format your submission according to the rules and proof-read 100% of the folder and file names. You need to find a new flash drive. You need to save the submission on your USB flash drive. You need to run the eCopy validation software module. You need to read my blog about how to eliminate hidden system volume information folders created by Microsoft Windows 10. You figure out how to find the Command Prompt on your computer. You need to eliminate the hidden folder. You need to re-validate the electronic copy. You need to eject the USB (don’t accidentally re-insert it for any reason). Then you need to download my template for a cover letter, create your cover letter, and sign the cover letter. Then you need to find a FedEx envelope, find the company’s FedEx account number, complete the shipping label, and package up your FedEx envelope. If you’re lucky, you have regular pick-ups scheduled each day, and you finished just-in-time. For 80% of you, you will need to look-up the nearest FedEx dropbox and drive there like a crazed maniac and try to avoid getting a speeding ticket.

Or you could just outsource your eCopy problems.  

Posted in: 510(k)

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ISO 14971 3rd Edition Available for Purchase

The new ISO 14971 3rd edition was released for sale by ANSI / AAMI on December 16, 2019, and as a member of AAMI, the cost is $133.

Risk management process 2019 1024x773 ISO 14971 3rd Edition Available for Purchase

2019 Risk Management Process – 3rd edition

In October of 2018, I wrote a blog on the draft version of ISO 14971 3rd edition of the risk management standard for medical devices. That article explained the differences between the different versions of the ISO 14971 standard (i.e., 2000, 2007, 2009, and 2012). I also explained what changed between ISO 14971:2007 and ISO/DIS 14971:2018–the 2018 draft of the standard that was released this week.

The changes proposed in the draft included subtle changes to the names of the processes and a minor adjustment to the numbering of the clauses. Many of the annexes were also moved to ISO/TR 24971 guidance–which has not yet been released. The draft did not, however, result in a change in the overall process of risk management.

All of the changes that were discussed in my 2018 review were maintained in the final 2019 version that was released, but the ISO/TR 24971 guidance was not released at the same time as the committee had hoped for.

There are not any surprises in the 3rd edition (i.e., 2019 version). Therefore, I plan to wait until the ISO/TR 24971 guidance is released and then prepare a new blog specific to the guidance. If you are interested in training on the ISO 14971:2019 standard, the training I recorded on October 19, 2019, provides an excellent overview of these changes and highlights some of the challenges that you will encounter when trying to harmonize your risk management procedure between the ISO 14971:2019 standard and Regulation (EU) 2017/745.

If you want to know when the new guidance is released, please subscribe to my blog, and you will receive an update as soon as I can purchase the new guidance. Once the new guidance is released, I will also be providing a new risk management training bundle for $499 that includes the following:

This is a lot of information to absorb. Therefore, I recommend purchasing the October 2019 webinar and your copy of the ISO 14971:2019 standard from AAMI. Anyone that has already purchased either the webinar or the procedure will receive an email offering them a discount on this new bundle that credits them for their previous purchase. If you have purchased both, you will receive credits for both purchases. Just think you can watch the video and read the new version of the standard while you are working out at the gym in January. Learn and burn!

Posted in: ISO 14971:2019 (Risk Management)

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Classification Recommendation – How to write one for a De Novo request

This article explains how to write your classification recommendation for a De Novo Classification Request using a risk-based approach.

Classification Recommendation 1024x678 Classification Recommendation   How to write one for a De Novo request

“Automatic Class III Designation” does not mean that your device is a Class III device. That phrase means that the device is new, and therefore it will be automatically classified as Class III until a company submits a De Novo Classification Request. You and your company, not the FDA, should make the classification recommendation and propose the regulatory pathway for a new device. Submitting a 513g request is an option, but a 513g request involves paying the FDA money to write a classification recommendation. The FDA will always be more conservative in their assessment than the manufacturer.

Although no FDA guidance explains how to write a classification recommendation, companies have been writing these documents for years–for Technical Files. Most countries have risk-based classification rules, while the FDA’s product classification database is centered upon precedents and adjusted over time by historical trends of adverse events and recalls. Therefore, you should write a classification recommendation for the FDA that is focused on a documented risk assessment. Your approach will also need to be modified to include classification information for similar indications for use and technological characteristics that are already established in the US market.

Most Common Mistake in Writing a Classification Rationale 

Many people mistakenly write a short classification rationale for a technical file, which simply states which classification rule applies and why. Although this approach is acceptable for a Declaration of Conformity, you must provide a comprehensive classification rationale in your technical file. First, you need to make sure that there is only one classification rule that applies. For example, classification rules fall into four general categories:

  1. Non-invasive Devices
  2. Invasive Devices
  3. Active Devices
  4. Special Rules

The software was haphazardly added to the active devices category until recently, and special rules were created to address emerging areas of interest and concern. Therefore, most active devices have a second rule that applies regarding the invasive nature of the device–or lack thereof. In order to write a comprehensive classification rationale, you need to review each classification rule and document your explanation for why it applies or does not apply to your device.

A Classification Recommendation Compares Indications for Use

The FDA does have classification rules, but the rules are not 13 numbered items in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The FDA expects a risk assessment of comparing your device with existing devices on the US market. The basis of comparison should be: 1) the indications for use and 2) the technological characteristics. First, you should identify other devices that have similar indications for use. For example, a device intended for home use or over-the-counter (OTC) use represents a higher risk to patients and users than a device intended for prescription use only. Patients may fail to identify contraindications for a device properly, or the lack of formal medical training may result in use errors that would not occur when a physician uses the same device.

Other aspects of indications for use that impact the risk assessment are the part of the body where your device will be used and the duration for use. For example, implants are higher risk than non-implants, because implants are in contact with the body for a much longer period of time. Implants can also expose the body to systemic risks, while a surface contacting device is likely only to have a localized effect. Degradation of implants also exposes the body small particles, with more surface area, that can travel from one part of the body to another.

If your device is used for life support, the device will also be considered a higher risk than devices that are not required for life support. If your device is the only device used for diagnosis, this also represents a higher risk than a device that acts as an adjunct to other devices. Finally, if your device is an accessory to other devices that are high risk, your device may be considered a higher risk as well–especially if it controls the higher risk device.

In your analysis, you need to identify devices that are already on the US market that have similar indications for use. Usually, those devices will be Class II devices. However, if some of those devices are Class I or Class III, you will need to be more careful with how you differentiate your indications for use from those other devices.

A Classification Recommendation Compares Technological Characteristics

When comparing technological characteristics, the following aspects should be considered: 1) materials, 2) design, 3) energy source, and 4) other design features. For example, absorbable materials are generally considered higher risk than devices that are not absorbable. Sterile devices are generally higher risk than non-sterile devices because the failure of the sterilization process or the package integrity can result in serious infections and death. Devices that are electrically powered are usually considered higher risk than devices that are not powered. Finally, software-controlled devices that provide feedback control are considered higher risk than a device that does not have feedback control. Each technological characteristic also represents a different category of hazard. Hazard categories are listed in Table E1 of Annex E in ISO 14971:2007. These include chemical, biological, electrical, radiation, etc.

Once you have identified the Classification of other devices with similar indications for use and technological characteristics, you need to estimate the risks for each hazard identified. This involves more than just listing hazards and assigning scores for severity and probability for the occurrence of harm. Severity should consider the type of injuries, a number of injuries, and the duration of harm. Probability should consider the frequency of events (P1), and the probability of events resulting in injury (P2). These risk estimates also require clinical data.

Benefit/Risk Analysis

In the end, you prepare a benefit/risk analysis for your device. This is much more than a statement that benefits outweigh the risks. You need to identify the clinical benefits of your device when compared to alternative treatments. You also need to analyze risks relative to alternative treatments. You will need to prepare this as a summary of risks–not a list of hazards. Ultimately, your benefits should be equivalent to the benefits of existing devices on the market or better, and the risks should be equivalent to existing devices on the market or less.

Examples of Classification Recommendation

Eight different medical devices are legally marketed in the USA for weight loss or weight management:

  1. Lap-Band Adjustable Gastric Banding System – Class III, PMA
  2. Maestro Rechargeable System – Class III, PMA
  3. ORBERA Intragastric Balloon System – Class III, PMA
  4. Obalon Balloon System – Class III, PMA
  5. TransPyloric Shuttle/TransPyloric Shuttle Delivery Device – Class III, PMA
  6. AspireAssist – Class III, PMA
  7. Sensor Monitored Alimentary Restriction Therapy (SMART) Device – Class II, De Novo
  8. Plenity – Class II, De Novo

The indications for use for these products are similar, but not identical. Plenity is indicated for patients with a BMI of 25 – 40 kg/m2. In comparison, ORBERA is indicated for patients with a BMI of 30-40 kg/m2, and AspireAssist is indicated for patients with a BMI of 35-55 kg/m2. All three of these indications have overlapping BMI ranges. However, the clinical benefits to a person with a BMI of 25 kg/m2 are not the same as the clinical benefits to a person with a BMI of 40 or 50 kg/m2. Therefore, these minor differences in BMI can have a significant impact upon the benefit/risk analysis used for a De Novo approval decision and the Classification (i.e., Class II or Class III) determined by the FDA.

The only two weight management devices that received the approval of the De Novo Classification Request had very different technological characteristics from the other six devices. All six of Class III, PMA devices, are implants, while the Class II devices are not implants. The risks associated with implants is much greater than non-implants. The risk of implants breaking or leaking, and the difficulty in removing an implant, are just two of the considerations that must be evaluated in deciding whether an implantable device should be a Class II or Class III device.

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513g Request for Information

This article explains what a 513g request for information is for, how to prepare a 513g request, and when to submit the request to the FDA.

Design Timeline with 513g 1024x542 513g Request for Information

What is a 513g?

A “513g” is a request for classification information from the FDA. The reference is to a section of the Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act. The purpose of the submission is to ask the FDA what product classification would be most appropriate for your device and what the appropriate regulatory pathway will be. The FDA is required by the regulation to provide a written response within 60 days of receiving the 513g request. The submission also requires payment of an FDA user fee that is eligible for a small business discount.

In a 2015 blog case study, I explained why I feel that the submission of a 513g request for information from the FDA is usually a waste of money. Since that time, our firm has prepared only a few 513g requests. There are a few good reasons for submitting a 513g request. For example, if you are developing a device that might be considered exempt under the 21st Century Cures Act as a general wellness product, your firm might submit a 513g request to verify that premarket notification is not required for your device.

When should a 513g request for information be submitted?

Usually, device companies ask me if I think they should submit a 513g or a pre-submission request to answer questions about the testing requirements. Often the device has a known product classification code requiring a 510(k) submission. Sometimes, there will even be a Special Controls Guidance document available for the product classification. In these situations, a 513g is entirely unnecessary. I can understand the difficulties that people experience when trying to navigate the FDA product classification database because the database does not use modern natural language search algorithms like Google. However, a greater concern is that most companies are asking this question after they have already started the development of their device, and just before they plan to initiate design verification testing. This is very late in the design process–even a little late to be conducting a pre-submission request. Your 513g submission should be during the beginning of your design project (i.e., during the concept or feasibility phases of design) to verify the regulatory pathway.

How to prepare a 513g

For any device submission, including a 513g, you need to prepare a detailed device description for the FDA. Many companies find this difficult. Therefore, we provide a template for the device description. For our 513g templates, we simplified the device description we use for a pre-submission request. We also identified the required sections with an asterisk. The resulting template is shorter and easier to complete.

In addition to the device description, we recommend that you include a copy of the draft labeling and instructions for use (IFU) with each device submission. A pre-submission does not require draft labeling, but a 513g classification request does require draft labeling to ensure the FDA understands your intended use for the device. Therefore, we provide templates for companies to prepare these drafts.

The last important piece of your 513g classification request is your cover letter. The most important parts of the cover letter, are the questions you ask the FDA about your device. We provide some typical questions that would be asked in a 513g submission, but you will probably have one or more unique questions you want to ask, which are specific to your device and indications for use.

Other Resources

If you need to submit a 513g classification request, you can learn more about FDA content requirements by watching our 513g request webinar. If you complete our subscription form for the webinar, you will also receive access to our complete set of 513g templates. The templates for the device description, draft label, and draft instructions for use (IFU) are also the three templates we provide to new clients that will be submitting a pre-submission meeting request, a 510k submission, or a De Novo Classification Request.

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De Novo pre IDE Meeting

The article describes the most critical part of the preparation for a De Novo Classification Request, the De Novo pre IDE meeting.pre IDE Meeting Timeline De Novo pre IDE Meeting

There are two critical differences between a De Novo classification request and a 510k submission. First, 510k clearance is based upon a substantial equivalence comparison of a device and a predicate device that is already marketed in the USA, while a De Novo classification is based upon a benefit-risk analysis of a device’s clinical benefits compared with the risk of harm to users and patients. Second, 510k clearance usually does not require clinical data to demonstrate safety and efficacy, while a De Novo classification request usually does require clinical data to demonstrate safety and efficacy. Therefore, it makes sense that the two most common challenges for innovative medical device companies are: 1) learning how to write a benefit-risk analysis, and 2) designing a clinical study. Success with both of these tasks can be significantly improved by requesting a De Novo pre IDE meeting with the FDA.

Benefit-Risk Analysis Questions to Ask During a De Novo pre IDE Meeting

Most device companies are only familiar with substantial equivalence comparisons–not a benefit/risk analysis. The statement “the benefits outweigh the risks” is not a benefit/risk analysis. The European MDD requires a benefit/risk analysis (mentioned eight times), while Regulation (EU) 2017/745 mentions benefit/risk 69 times. Despite the obvious increased emphasis on benefit/risk analysis in the new EU Regulations, the new ISO 14971 standard that is expected to be released next month still does not require a benefit/risk analysis for all risks as required by the regulations. The international standard also does not clearly explain how to perform a benefit/risk analysis. The best explanation for how to perform a benefit/risk analysis is provided in the FDA guidance.

In addition to reading that guidance, you will need to systematically identify all of the current alternative methods of treatment, diagnosis, or monitoring for your intended use. Therefore, you should ask in a pre-submission meeting if there are any additional devices or treatments that the FDA feels should be considered. You should review each of the alternative treatments for clinical studies that may help you in the design of your clinical study. You should carefully review the available clinical data for alternative treatments to help you quantify the risks and benefits associated with those treatments too. Finally, you should consider whether one or more of these alternative treatments might be a suitable control for your clinical study. Ideally, your clinical study design will show that the benefits of your device are greater, and the risks are less, but either may be enough for approval of your classification request. If you think the risks of your device are significantly less than alternative treatments, then ask the FDA about using this factor as an endpoint in your study design.

Clinical Study Design Considerations

Ideally, there is already a well-accepted clinical model for assessing efficacy for your desired indications. This means multiple, published, peer-reviewed journal articles. You might have a better method for evaluating subjects, but don’t propose that method instead of a “gold standard.” If you feel strongly that your method is more appropriate, propose both methods of evaluation. You also need multiple evaluators who can be objective. Randomization, blinding, and monitoring of clinical studies is critical to ensure an unbiased evaluation of clinical results.

You also need to design your study with realistic expectations. Murphy’s law is always active. That means, “things will go wrong in any given situation if you give them a chance.” Therefore, you must avoid optimism and devise methods for detecting errors quickly. This is why electronic data capture systems and eSource is preferred for data collection instead of the manual collection of data on paper case study forms. Not only does it reduce errors in data collection, but it also facilitates remote monitoring of clinical sites. This includes asking questions that are open-ended or quantitative–instead of Yes/No questions or qualitative evaluations that encourage subjectivity. You can always anticipate every mistake that will be made, and open-ended questions often capture essential data that would otherwise be lost. Asking the quantitative questions also will provide you with additional data you can analyze, which may reveal unexpected relationships or help you to explain unexpected results. To help facilitate the development of these questions, try asking yourself how you could detect an error for each data point you are collecting. Then add a detection mechanism to your data collection plan wherever and whenever you can.

Goals of De Novo pre IDE Meeting

A pre-IDE meeting is not typically your first pre-submission meeting with the FDA. Usually, your first pre-submission meeting is to verify that the FDA agrees that the regulatory pathway is a De Novo classification request rather than a 510(k) submission. Hopefully, you also were able to review your overall testing plan with the FDA during your first pre-submission meeting. You may have even reviewed a clinical synopsis with the FDA during your initial pre-submission meeting. During the pre-IDE meeting, your goal is to finalize your clinical study protocol. That doesn’t mean that the FDA should agree 100% with your draft protocol. You want positive and negative feedback on all aspects of your protocol before the IDE submission. During the IDE review, changes will be made.

The most important aspects of getting right before the IDE submission are the fundamentals. Most of my De Novo clients feel that a control group is not possible, because they think that test subjects will know when a sham is used. However, trying to avoid a control group is nearly impossible. The most important factors for why a control group is needed are:

  • you need to minimize differences between experimental and control subjects, but you can’t do that if you are relying on data from other clinical studies
  • you also need to ensure that your evaluation methods are identical, which is nearly impossible when performed by different people, at different facilities, using slightly different protocols

Another area of weakness in most draft clinical protocols is the method of evaluation. Specifically:

  • Who is doing evaluations?
  • Which endpoints are important?
  • When are your endpoints?
  • What are your acceptance criteria?

The last area to consider in a pre-IDE meeting is your statistical plan. You need a statistical plan, but the statistical analysis seldom appears to be the reason for the rejection of clinical data. The reason is that changes can be made to your statistical analysis of data after the study is completed, but you can’t change the data once the study is over. The FDA is now accepting of adaptive designs that allow the company to analyze data during the study to recalculate the ultimate sample size needed based upon actual data rather than initial assumptions.

Other De Novo Classification Request Resources

On Thursday, October 17, we presented a live webinar showing medical device companies on how to avoid a stunning disaster. Click here to access the webinar recording. We recorded another webinar about preparation De Novo Classification Requests that you can download from our website. I wrote a blog about De Novo classification requests. You can also learn a lot about how to Design your own De Novo clinical study by reviewing the Decision Summaries published by the FDA for each De Novo in the list of De Novo classification requests. Finally, the FDA pre-sub guidance 2019 is an invaluable resource for preparing any pre IDE meeting request.

Posted in: De Novo

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Private Labeled Devices with FDA Approval

This article answers one of the most common questions asked by non-US device firms, and by companies that want to import private labeled devices.

This article was initially inspired by a question asked on the Medical Devices Group website hosted by Joe Hage. Companies often ask about how to private labeled devices in the USA, because they are unable to find anywhere in the FDA regulations where private labeling of the device is described. The reason for this is because the FDA regulations for devices allow for the labeling to identify the distributor only—without any mention of the OEM manufacturer on the label. In contrast, most other countries have “own-brand labeling” regulations or regulations for private labeling devices. It is also important to remember that the FDA only approves devices through the pre-market approval (PMA) pathway. All other devices fall into one of three categories: 1) 510(k) exempt, 2) 510(k) cleared, or 3) De Novo classification request approved. Devices that fall into the third category will subsequently fall into category 1 or 2 after the FDA approves the classification request.

Questions about the private labeled devices process for FDA

Our distribution company is interested in getting a private labeled devices agreement with an OEM to sell a Class II medical device in the USA. The OEM has 510(k) clearance, and the only product change will be the company’s name and address on the label. There will be no change to the indications for use. Please answer the following questions:

  1. Is it legal to eliminate all mention of the OEM from the device labeling?
  2. Who is responsible for complaint handling and medical device reporting? OEM or private-labeled distributor?
  3. What is the process to get this private label for the Class II device?
  4. How can our distribution company avoid paying the FDA user fee?

Answer to the first question about private labeled devices

The FDA is unique in that they allow either the distributor or the manufacturer to be identified on the label, but both are not required. Therefore, if Joe Hage were the distributor, and you were the manufacturer, there are two legal options for the private labeled device: 1) “Distributed by Joe Hage”, or 2) “Manufactured for Joe Hage.”

The manufacturer is not required to be identified on the label. However, the OEM must be registered and listed with the FDA. If the OEM is outside the USA, then the distributor must register and list with the FDA as the initial importer and reference the K number when they complete the FDA listing. There is no approval required by the FDA. You will need a quality agreement defining the roles and responsibilities of each party, but that is all.

Answer to the second question about private labeled devices

The quality agreement must specify which company is responsible for complaint handling (21 CFR 820.198) and medical device reporting (21 CFR 803). In this situation, the OEM is the specification developer, as defined by the FDA. Therefore, the OEM will be responsible for reporting and execution of recalls. Therefore, even if the distributor with a private label agreement is identified as the “complaint file establishment,” the OEM will still need to obtain copies of the complaint information from the distributor, and determine if medical device reporting and/or corrections and removals are required (i.e., recalls).

Answer to the third question about private labeled devices

There is no formal process for “getting a private label.” The entire private label process is negotiated between the distributor and the OEM with no involvement of the FDA. However, in the listing of devices within the FDA FURLS database, all brand names of the device must be identified. Therefore, the OEM will need to add the new brand name used by the distributor to their listing for the 510(k) cleared product. However, the FDA does have the option to keep this information confidential by merely checking a box in the device listing form.

Answer to the fourth question about private labeled devices

If the distribution company is the initial importer of a device into the USA, then the distributor must be registered with the US FDA as the initial importer, and the distributor will need to pay the FDA user fee for the establishment registration. That user fee is $5,236 for FY 2020, and there is no small business discount for this fee. The only way to avoid paying the user fee is to have another company import the device, who is already registered with the FDA, and to distribute the product for that company. I imagine some logistics brokers might be acting as an initial importer for multiple distributors to help them avoid paying the annual FDA user fee for establishments. That company might also be providing US Agent services for multiple OEMs. However, I have not found a company doing this.

Is private labeling of device legal in the USA?

The FDA is unique in that they allow either the distributor or the manufacturer to be identified on the label, but both are not required. Therefore, if Joe Hage were the distributor, and you were the manufacturer, there are two legal options for the private label: 1) “Distributed by Joe Hage”, or 2) “Manufactured for Joe Hage.”

Who must register, list, and pay user fees for medical devices?

This question is frequently asked, and the table with the information was not visible on my mobile browser. Therefore, I copied the table from the FDA website and posted the information in the image below. The information is copied directly from the FDA website:

Registration and Listing Requirements for Domestic Establishments

Who must register list and pay fig 1 1024x697 Private Labeled Devices with FDA ApprovalWho must register list and pay fig 2 1024x710 Private Labeled Devices with FDA Approval

Registration and Listing Requirements for Foreign Establishments

Who must register list and pay fig 3 1024x947 Private Labeled Devices with FDA Approval

For products that are manufactured outside the USA, and imported into the USA, the initial importer is often the company identified on the label. There are two typical private labeling situations, but other possibilities exist:

  1. If the initial importer owns the 510(k), then the manufacturer outside the USA is identified as the “contract manufacturer,” and the initial importer is identified as the “specifications developer.” Both companies must register their establishments with the FDA, and there needs to be a quality agreement between the two companies defining roles and responsibilities. The contract manufacturer outside the USA is not automatically exempt from reporting requirements and complaint handling. The contract manufacturer outside the USA may decide to label the product as a) “Manufactured by”, b) “Manufactured for”, or c) “Distributed by.” Options “a”, “b” and “c” would list the importer’s name because they own the 510(k), and they are the distributor. This situation often occurs when companies outside the USA want to sell a product in the USA, but they do not want to take on the responsibility of obtaining 510(k) clearance. These firms often believe this will exempt them from FDA inspections, but the FDA is increasingly conducting FDA inspections of contract manufacturers due to this private label situation.
  2. If the manufacturer owns the 510(k), then the manufacturer outside the USA is identified as the “specifications developer” and the “manufacturer,” while the initial importer will be identified as the “initial importer.” The importer may also be specified as the complaint file establishment and/or repackager/relabeler in the FDA registration database. The manufacturer outside the USA will not be able to import the device into the USA without identifying an initial importer in the USA in the FDA FURLS database. The manufacturer outside the USA may decide to label the product as a) “Manufactured by”, b) “Manufactured for”, or c) “Distributed by.” Options “b” and “c” would list the importer’s name, while option “a” would list the manufacturer’s name. This situation often occurs when US companies want to be the distributor for a product made outside the USA, and the company wants a private labeled product. This also happens when the OEM wants the option to have multiple US distributors.

In both of the above private-label situations, the non-US firm must have a US Agent identified because the company is located outside the USA. The US Agent may be the initial importer, but this is not required. It could also be a consulting service that acts as your US Agent. The US Agent will be responsible for receiving communications from the FDA and confirming their role as US agents each year when the registration is renewed. Medical Device Academy offers this service to non-US clients we help obtain 510(k) clearance.

Follow-up questions

A Korean company, with a US distribution subsidiary, would like to private label a medical device with an existing 510(k) owned by another company in their name. Does the Korean company need a contract in place before private labeling? Does the US subsidiary and/or the Korean parent company need to be registered in the USA prior distribution of the private-labeled version of the device in the USA?

Rob’s response: Initially, it was unclear from the wording of the question as to whom is the 510(k) owner, which company will be on the label, who is doing the labeling, and who is doing the importing to the USA. The person asking Joe Hage this question tried clarifying their question via email, but we quickly switched to scheduling a phone call using my calendly link. I have reworded the question above, but here are some of the important details I learned during our phone call:

  1. The person asking was already acting as the relabeler, repackager, and they were distributing the product in the USA. This person’s company is also registered with the FDA.
  2. The device is 510(k) cleared by another US company, and there is no need to worry about the complications of an initial importer being identified for a product manufactured in the USA.

In this situation, the relabeler/repackager can relabel the product for the Korean company’s US subsidiary as long as there is a quality agreement in place for all three parties (i.e., relabeler, distributor, and manufacturer). There is no need for the Korean parent company to register with the FDA. There is no need for a new 510(k) submission, and the US subsidiary does not need to register with the FDA—as long as the quality agreement specifies that the US subsidiary will maintain records of distribution, facilitate recalls if required, and notify the manufacturer of any potential complaints and/or adverse events immediately. The manufacturer with 510(k) clearance will be responsible for complaint handling, medical device reporting, and execution of recalls according to the agreement. The relabeler will be responsible for maintaining records of each lot of product that is relabeled for the US subsidiary, and the relabeler must maintain distribution records that link the original manufacturer’s lot to the lot marked on the relabeled product.

If you have questions about the private labeling of your device, please contact us.

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