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Third party review of 510(k) submissions – When it makes sense and which third party to choose?

third party review Third party review of 510(k) submissions – When it makes sense and which third party to choose?

What is a Third Party Review?

A third-party review is the review of a 510(k) that has been submitted directly to a third party rather than the FDA themselves. Back in 1997, as part of the FDA Modernization Act or FDAMA, the ‘Accredited Persons Program’ was created. This allowed the FDA to accredit persons, or ‘third parties’ to conduct the primary review of certain 510(k) submissions. One of the goals of this program was to be able to make the submission and review process faster and more efficient.

The third-party review is not a full alternative to submitting a 510(k) to the FDA. Third parties are authorized by the FDA to conduct the primary review of specific types of devices only. Only certain devices are eligible for third party review. The FDA keeps a database of those devices here in one of their medical devices databases (http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfThirdParty/current.cfm).

The use of a third party review also does not bypass the FDA. The third party is only conducting the primary review of the 510(k) and then forwarding the submission, the review of the submission, and the post review recommendation to the FDA. The FDA then has a 30-day timeline to issue a final determination of the submission.

How many 510(k) submissions use a third-party review?

In 2016, I did an analysis of 510(k) submissions reviewed by the general and plastic surgery panel. I reviewed submissions that received clearance between January 1, 2015, and August 10, 2016. Of the 690 510(k) clearances that were issued by the panel, only nine (9) were submitted for third party review. Although third party reviewers were responsible for only 1.3% of the submissions I reviewed, there are other device classifications with higher percentages of reviews being conducted by third-party reviewers. There were a total of 114 submissions that were issued 510(k) clearance through a third-party review process during that period.

For this article, I reviewed the 3,023 510(k) clearances that were issued in the past 12 months (i.e., May 23, 2016, through May 23, 2017). Only 75 of the 510(k) submissions issued (2.5%) were submitted for third party review. Of these 75 submissions, the average review time by the FDA (after the third party review is completed) was 46 days. Since the average review time for the FDA of a traditional 510(k) is 183 days (based upon my data analysis from 2016), third party review can potentially reduce your 510(k) clearance timeline by months.

Why do only 2.5% of 510(k) submitters utilize a third-party review?

Originally, my theory was that only a limited number of product classification codes are eligible for third party review. The FDA is trying to expand the third-party review program, but 44% of third party reviews are for the radiology panel. Another 13% were for the general hospital panel, and 13% more of the reviews were for the cardiovascular panel. Finally, less than 7% were reviewed for the dental panel. The remaining 17 submissions were reviewed for other panels. A closer look at the product classification codes shows that there are only a few product codes within these panels that are being reviewed by third parties.

I also had a second theory for why so few submitters are using third parties. As I reviewed the actual 510(k) summaries for these 75 submissions, I noticed there were only four (4) companies listed as third party reviewers in the last 12 months:

  1. Regulatory Technology Services, LLC (http://www.markjob.com/) = 56 submissions
  2. Third Party Review Group, LLC (http://www.fdathirdpartyreview.com/) = 15 submissions
  3. TUV SUD America, Inc. (http://www.tuv-sud-america.com) = 3 submissions
  4. Center for Measurement Standards of Industrial in Taiwan = 1 submission

2018 Updated- FDA’s reporting of the first three quarters of 2018

Compared with the above information, the first three-quarter reportings for 2018 list a total of more third party reviewers. Currently, in the quarterly reports from the FDA, there are the following 3rd party reviewers:

  1. AABB = 5 or less
  2. Center for Measurement Standards of Industrial (CMSI) = five or less
  3. New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) = five or less
  4. Nordic Institute of Dental Materials (NIOM) = five or less
  5. Regulatory Technology Services, LLC. (RTS) = 36
  6. Third Party Review Group, LLC. (TPRG) = 13
  7. TUV SUD America, INC. (TUV) = 5 or less

The FDA keeps an up to list of approved third-party reviewers under the Medical Devices Databases. Titled Current List of Accredited Persons for 510(k) Review under the FDA Modernization Act of 1997- (http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfthirdparty/Accredit.CFM?party_key=8).

As of Quarter Three, there have been a total of 53  Third Party 510(k) Submissions Accepted. A majority of these completed by Regulatory Technology Services, LLC, and Third Party Review Group, LLC (TPRG). 36, and 13, respectively. All of the others have five or less, but these numbers may increase once the fourth-quarter report is released.

When should you choose a third-party review instead of submitting directly to the FDA?

Always check the 510(k) database to see if third party reviewers were used for your product’s classification code. Ideally, a third-party reviewer has been involved in a device that is in the same product classification, and possibly that device would be a suitable predicate for you to select for your 510(k) submission. If your search yields no results, your device may not be eligible for a third party review. However, you can always contact one of the four third party reviewers listed above.

In general, the third-party review process is an excellent way to shorten your 510(k) clearance timeline by months. The cost is significantly more than the FDA user fee. However, a faster time to market is almost always worth the increased fee. Therefore, if a third party review is available, I recommend taking advantage of this option.

Do you need help?

Medical Device Academy offers a regulatory pathway analysis service for $1,500. For those of you that are only interested in the US market, rather than including the EU and Canada, the cost for this service is only $750. Do you need help identifying the product classification for your device, determining the required performance testing, and selecting a predicate device? We can do this for you in one week or less. Do you need an expedited review? We can also determine if your product is eligible for third party review and obtain a quote for you.

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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 six 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 a 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 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 two 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 the 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 the FDA denies your most optimistic testing plans.

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 on 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 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?

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Biocompatibility testing questions answered in pre-submission requests

This article is a copy of my responses to someone that submitted biocompatibility testing questions in preparation for a 510k pre-submission webinar.

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

Can you please answer the following questions related to biocompatibility for a 510k pre-submission meeting request?

This was the request by a person that registered for a 510k pre-submission webinar that was recorded in February 2018. The person asked some great questions that are very similar to other clients I work with. They also requested 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 questions. Questions are entered in an open text box, and you have room to ask multiple questions.

Biocompatibility testing question #1: Does the FDA now already ask for the AET (Analytical evaluation threshold) for chemical analyses?

This is exactly the type of biocompatibility testing questions you should be asking in a 510k pre-submission meeting. If you ask, “What biocompatibility testing is required for a 510k?” You will only receive a reference to the FDA guidance for biocompatibility. A better approach is to ask a biocompatibility testing lab to provide a Biological Evaluation Plan (BEP). Then you can submit your plan as part of the 510k pre-submission meeting request and include this question regarding the section of the BEP where you explain how you intend to perform chemical characterization of your device and how you intend to determine whether the materials represent risks related to sub-acute toxicity and sub-chronic toxicity endpoints.

Biocompatibility testing question #2: How can I avoid time-consuming genotoxicity studies for FDA?

Typically if you perform the “Big 3” (i.e., cytotoxicity, 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 genotoxicity studies. This is also often true for acute toxicity testing and sub-chronic toxicity testing. This often saves > $10K. To verify the FDA will accept this approach, you will typically provide a biological evaluation plan (BEP) as part of your pre-submission request. Your biocompatibility testing questions should specifically reference your BEP.

Question #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 explain why the device is no toxic for the intended use and duration of contact. This would normally be part of that BEP mentioned above.

Biocompatibility testing question #4: Which genotoxicity 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. The 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.
I did not answer this question outright, because biocompatibility requirements change over time. This is also true for other verification testing standards. In fact, for one 510k project, I had seven different standards change just before submission. During a pre-submission meeting, the FDA should make you aware of coming changes to these tests. Also, better biocompatibility testing labs are aware of the changes before they are implemented. This is because the lab managers participate in the committees that revise and update international standards.

Will the meeting be recorded since I live in Germany?

Yes, all of my webinars are recorded. You will receive an email with a link for downloading the recording within 24 hours of completing the original live webinar or at the time of purchase if you are purchasing one of our previously recorded webinars. You can also schedule calls with me as a follow-up using the following link: http://calendly.com/13485cert/30min.

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Risk Management Requirements – 510k vs DHF

This article compares the risk management requirements for a 510k submission with the risk management requirements for your design history file (DHF).

Design Controls and Risk Management Risk Management Requirements   510k vs DHF

Risk Management Requirements and Design Control Requirements

Last week I presented a free webinar on how to combine risk management with design controls when planning to submit a 510k. Many questions were asking what the design control and risk management requirements are for a 510k.

What are the Design Control Requirements in a 510k?

There is no specific part of the regulations stating what the 510k design control requirements are. However, some aspects of the DHF are required as 510k design control documentation, but not necessarily in the exact form as maintained in the DHF. For example, Design Inputs and Design Outputs are presented as applicable recognized standards and design specifications, while others will remain precisely the same (i.e., verification and validation test reports).

What are the Risk Management Requirements in a 510k?

For 510k submissions, the only risk management requirements are the inclusion of risk documentation for devices containing software of at least moderate level risk. There are some exceptions to this as well, though, based on a few special control guidance documents—especially when the submission type is an abbreviated 510k. This is article identifies which of the DHF and RMF elements are 510k design control requirements and 510k risk management requirements.

510k Design Control Requirements

Design Controls are identified in 21 CFR 820.30. Every manufacturer of any class II or class III devices and certain Class I devices (class I devices with software, tracheobronchial suction catheters, surgeon gloves, protective restraints, radionuclide applicators, radionuclide teletherapy devices) need to control design per this regulation. The requirement for a Design History File is item j) and states:

“Each manufacturer shall establish and maintain a DHF for each type of device. The DHF shall contain or reference the records necessary to demonstrate that the design was developed following the approved design plan and the requirements of this part.”

The “requirements of this part” refer to the other bullets in 21 CFR 820.30 which can be summarized as:

a) Establish and maintain procedures to control the design of a device.

b) Design and Development Planning – Each manufacturer shall establish a plan that describes the design and development activities, and defines responsibilities for implementation.

c) Design Inputs – Manufacturers need to ensure design requirements relating to a device are appropriate and address the intended use of the device.

d) Design Outputs – Design outputs need to be documented in terms that allow an adequate evaluation of conformance to design input requirements. Design outputs that are essential for the proper functioning of the device should be identified.

e) Design Review – Formal documented reviews of design results should be planned and conducted at appropriate stages of device development.

f) Design Verification – Design verification confirms that the design output meets the design input requirements.

g) Design Validation – Design validation shall be performed under defined operating conditions on initial production units or their equivalents. It shall ensure that devices conform to defined user needs and meet the intended use of the device.

h) Design Transfer – Design transfer documentation shall ensure that the device design is correctly translated into production specifications.

i) Design Changes – changes should be identified, documented, validated/verified, reviewed, and approved before their implementation.

The Design History File is intended to be a repository of the records required to demonstrate compliance with your design plan and design control procedures. While companies are required to create and maintain this documentation according to the FDA regulation, not all of the documentation will be reviewed as part of the 510k. The following table compares the elements that comprise a DHF with the 510k design control requirements.

DHF Element 510k Design Control Requirements
Design Plan Not Required
User Needs Not Required
Design Inputs

Cover Sheet (Section 1) and

Declaration of Conformity (Section 9)

Some design inputs will appear in the form of standards in FDA Form 3514 (Cover Sheet) and the Declaration of Conformity FDA Form 3654 (Standards Data Report)

Design Outputs

Device Description (Section 11)

The Device Description lists the specifications of the device, and your Design Outputs document will help populate the Device Description. This can include drawings, pictures, or written specifications that describe your device.

Labeling

Proposed Labeling (Section 13)

The labeling is usually considered part of the Design Outputs within the DHF and is included specifically in the labeling section of the 510(k) submission. This includes both the Instructions for Use and any Package Labeling.

Verification and Validation Protocols

Not Required

You do not have to include the protocols, but the reviewer may ask to see them if they have any questions when reviewing the reports.

Verification and Validation Reports

Sterilization (Section 14)

Biocompatibility (Section 15)

Software (Section 16)

Electrical Safety and EMC (Section 17)

Bench Performance Testing (Section 18)

Animal Performance Testing (Section 19)

Clinical Performance Testing (Section 20)

Of course, not all of these sections will be applicable to every device. Still, you should include all relevant validation test reports within your submission in the appropriate part of the 510k. Typically, each of these sections will have a cover sheet that outlines the reports that are included within the section, and then you can just include the report from the DHF in its entirety behind the cover sheet in that section.

Process Validation Only required for sterilization validation typically, but there are exceptions for novel materials and coatings
Work Instructions Not Required for 510k
Design Review Meeting Minutes Not Required for 510k
Design Trace Matrix Only required for software
Risk Management File Sometimes – See Risk Management File Table Below
Post-Market Surveillance Plan Not Required, but a few exceptions for high-risk devices
Clinical Data Summary Required only if used to demonstrate safety and efficacy
Regulatory Approval It Will result from 510k Clearance, so nothing to be included in 510k submission.

510k Risk Management Requirements

Regarding the FDA regulations for risk management, there is a requirement under the Design Validation section of 21 CFR 820.30 that states:

“Design validation shall include software validation and risk analysis, where appropriate.”

For FDA compliance and CE Marking, both recognize ISO 14971 as the standard for risk management. FDA recognizes ISO 14971:2007 whereas EN ISO 14971:2012 is the European National version for CE Marking. Rob Packard wrote an article describing the contents of the risk management file as well as the specific differences in the requirements between the FDA and CE Marking with regard to ISO 14971.

For your 510k submission, the FDA only requires risk management documentation to be included if the product contains software, and the risk is at least a level of “moderate concern”. There are some other cases when risk management is required by special controls guidance documents, but even when it is required, you only have to submit your risk analysis. The table below describes the risk management requirements in greater detail.

RMF Element 510k Risk Management Requirement
Risk Management Plan Not Required
Hazard Identification

510ks with Software Only (Section 16)

Hazard Identification is only required for devices that have a software component. It is not required for most other devices.

Risk Assessment

510(k)s with Software (Section 16)

Certain Special Controls Guidance

The Risk Assessment is only required to be included in your device contains software, or if a special controls guidance document specifically requires a risk assessment. It is not required for other 510ks.

Risk Control Option Analysis Software and Certain Special Controls Guidance
Risk Control Verification and Validation

Sterilization (Section 14)

Biocompatibility (Section 15)

Software (Section 16)

Electrical Safety and EMC (Section 17)

Bench Performance Testing (Section 18)

Animal Performance Testing (Section 19)

Clinical Performance Testing (Section 20)

This will not be any additional or special documentation specific to Risk Management and was already included in the DHF breakdown above. Still, the verification and validation also relate to risk management in ensuring that the risks have been adequately mitigated.

Risk-Benefit Analysis

Not Required for 510(k)

Risk-Benefit analyses are only required for De Novo applications, Humanitarian Device Exemptions, and PMAs.

Informing Users and Patients of Risks

Labeling (Section 13)

Part of the risk management will appear in the Labeling section of the 510k as warnings, contraindications, and precautions within the Instructions for Use and Package Labeling.

Risk Management Report Not Required

Special Controls Guidance Documents with Risk Management Requirements

Your first step in preparing your 510k submission is to search the FDA Guidance Document Database to determine if there is an applicable guidance document for your device. You can read another blog we wrote to explain Special Controls Guidance documents, and how to determine if one applies to your device. The following list provides examples of Class II Special Controls Guidance documents that require risk analysis to be included within the 510k:

When there are 510k risk management requirements, the special controls guidance document will typically state, “We recommend that the summary report contain:

An identification of the Risk Analysis method(s) used to assess the risk profile in general as well as the specific device’s design and the results of this analysis. (Refer to Section 6 for the risks to health generally associated with the use of this device that FDA has identified.)

Discussion of the device characteristics that address the risks identified in this class II special controls guidance document, as well as any additional risks identified in your risk analysis.”

The special controls guidance will also identify risks to health that have been identified for products of that type, which you should be sure to include in your risk analysis as appropriate.

More Information on Design Control and Risk Management Requirements

Hopefully, you are now able to determine which elements of your DHF are 510k design control requirements and which elements of your RMF are 510k risk management requirements. If you would like more information about how to implement design controls and risk management within your product development process, please consider registering for one of our training webinars:

If you need any further information or specific assistance with your 510k submission, please feel free to send me an email at mary@fdaecopy.com or schedule a call with our principal consultant, Rob Packard. He can answer any of your medical device regulatory questions.


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Posted in: 510(k), Design Control, ISO 14971:2019 (Risk Management)

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Redacted 510k Database – Have you used the newest FDA tool?

This article describes the new database of redacted 510k submissions that was recently made available online for immediate download by the US FDA.

Number of Redacted 510k Available Since November 2000 Redacted 510k Database   Have you used the newest FDA tool?

Recently the FDA made redacted 510k submissions that were previously released through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests available on-line for immediate download. There are 496 redacted 510k submissions available since November 2000–as indicated by the graph above. This is only a small fraction of the total number of 510k submissions, but the number that is available on-line will increase over time.

Types of redacted 510k Submissions

Of the 496 submissions, there is a mixture of submission types.

  • 382 are traditional 510k submissions
  • 97 are special 510k submissions
  • 17 are abbreviated 510k submissions
  • 14 were 3rd Party reviewed

What remains in a redacted 510k submission

The redacted versions do not include testing data, but you will find other goodies such as:

  • 3rd Party SE memorandums (where applicable)
  • Table of Contents
  • Pre-market Notification Cover Sheet (i.e., FDA Form 3514)
  • 510k Cover Letter
  • Indications for Use (i.e., FDA Form 3881)
  • 510(k) Summary
  • Truthful & Accuracy Statement
  • Device Description
  • Executive Summary
  • Substantial Equivalence Discussion (Partially Redacted)
  • Summary of Biocompatibility Testing (Partially Redacted)
  • Summary of Sterilization & Shelf-Life (Partially Redacted)
  • Proposed Labeling
  • Predicate Device Labeling
  • Declarations of Conformity (i.e., FDA Form 3654)
  • Deficiency Letter

This is valuable information that can be used to help select a potential predicate and to develop a verification and validation testing plan. If you are less experienced in the preparation of a 510k submission, it will help to see how other regulatory experts have organized their 510k submissions.

Learning more about redacted 510k submissions

To access this database, click on this link: Redacted FOIA 510k Database. To limit your search to only 510k submissions that are available as a redacted full 510k, just click on the box for “Redacted FOIA 510k.” If you are interested in learning more about how to make the most of this new resource, please sign up for my latest webinar on Monday, November 21 @ 9 am EST.

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Abbreviated 510k or Traditional 510k?

The article briefly explains the three types of 510k submissions and identifies when you should be submitting an abbreviated 510k instead of a traditional 510k.

Abbreviated 510k Abbreviated 510k or Traditional 510k?Three types of 510k submissions

The FDA has three different target timelines for reviewing a 510k submission and issuing a decision regarding substantial equivalence (i.e., SE Letter):

  1. Special 510k
  2. Abbreviated 510k
  3. Traditional 510k

Special 510k submissions

The first type is a special 510k submission. The FDA target timeline for a special 510k is 30 days, but you can only submit a Special 510k for a modification of your device that already has a 510k issued. Also, a Special 510k is only possible if the device modification requires a single technical discipline to review the change. For example, changes to software and materials require a review of software validation and biocompatibility. Therefore, two reviewer specialists must coordinate their efforts, and the review cannot be completed in 30 days. In this case, an abbreviated or traditional 510k must be submitted instead.

Abbreviated 510k submissions

The second type of 510k submission is an abbreviated 510k. The FDA target timeline for review is 60 days. If there is a recognized standard specific to the type of device you are submitting, or the FDA has issued a guidance document addressing that device classification, then an abbreviated 510k submission is recommended. For example, a dental handpiece (i.e., product code is ) has a special controls guidance document that explicitly written for dental handpieces, and the guidance states that an abbreviated 510k submission is recommended. Besides, the FDA recognizes the latest standard for dental handpieces: ISO 14457:2012 (FDA Doc # 4-206).

Traditional 510k submissions

The third type of 510k submission is a traditional 510k submission. The FDA target timeline for review is 90 days. If you are submitting a 510k for a new device, or the device modifications require more than one functional area of expertise, then a special 510k is not an option. If there is no recognized standard for the device type and the FDA has not issued the guidance of a special control for your device classification, then an abbreviated submission is also not an option. A traditional 510k submission is your only option in this case.

How frequently is an abbreviated 510k submission type used?

In September 2016, there were 260 510k SE decisions issued by the FDA. Here’s the breakdown by type:

  • Special 510k – 47 submissions = 18%
  • Abbreviated 510k – 8 submissions = 3%
  • Traditional 510k – 205 submissions = 79%

In general, I think it requires a little more effort to write clear and concise summaries for the various sections of an abbreviated 510k than it does for a traditional 510k. But if you can get your product to market a month quicker then it’s worth it.

Additional Resources for 510k submissions

If you would like additional training on 510k submissions or you would like to access Medical Device Academy’s templates, you can purchase all of our templates and 510k webinars on our 510k course webpage.

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Product Launch Design Planning for a 510k Submission in 300 Days or Less

This article explains how to conduct design planning for a new medical device product launch that requires a 510k submission in 300 days or less.

Device Product Launch in 300 Days Product Launch Design Planning for a 510k Submission in 300 Days or Less

One of the most valuable pieces of information you can receive is a plan for your medical device product launch. Some companies contact me, asking for help in implementing their quality system. You should be implementing this step last if you are a start-up company. Some companies contact me asking for help preparing their 510k submission. But you need to seek help much earlier. The best time to contact an expert for help with your product launch is 300 days before you want to launch your product.

Three Major Milestones of a Product Launch

Three major milestones must be completed before a medical device product launch can proceed. First, you need to complete the design specifications for your device. Second, you need to complete the design verification and validation activities and summarize this testing in a 510k submission or another type of regulatory submission. Third, you need to implement a quality system that meets the requirements of 21 CFR 820 and/or ISO 13485:2016. Each of these three major tasks can be completed in less than six months, but with proper planning and motivation, all three can be completed sequentially in less than one year for many products. Completing all three milestones in 300 days is possible.

Break Your Product Launch into Phases

Whenever I plan a design project, I break the overall product development into chunks that are easily understood, with measurable milestones, and I establish a timeline that is aggressive but possible. The design process typically has six phases, but several of these phases are shorter than you want, and the overall process is too long for a single chunk. Therefore, I decided to break the six phases into three pieces: 1) product development, 2) verification and validation, and 3) regulatory clearance. The end of the first chunk is marked by a “design freeze” where your team will conduct a design review and approve the final design outputs before you begin verification and validation of your product design. The second chunk is marked by the submission of a 510k or some other regulatory submission. The third chunk is marked by the completion of your quality system and receipt of your 510k clearance letter from the FDA.

How Long Should Each Phase of the Product Launch Be?

In the past, I would choose a timeline of approximately 3-4 months for each major phase of product launch. However, I have been learning a lot about goal setting, and I now target 100 days for the completion of most milestones. The reason is that 100 days is a time period over which most people can maintain their enthusiasm and motivation for completing a goal. If a goal takes longer than 100 days, then you should probably break down the goal into two or more smaller goals. If each of the three major phases of your product launch requires 100 days, then you can complete the overall product development and product launch within 300 days. One of the tools I recommend for planning and tracking your progress toward a 100-day goal is The Freedom Journal.

Product Launch Phase 1 – Your Design Plan

Your design plan should be the first thing you create. To create a design plan, you will need to identify the regulatory pathway–including all of the testing that is required for verification and validation of your new medical device. This design plan should identify all the design reviews, all the verification and validation testing that is required, and the regulatory approval process required before the product launch.

Product Launch Phase 2 – Preparing Your 510k Submission

Once you have approved your design outputs during the “design freeze,” now you need to complete the verification and validation testing, during this phase you will need to make sure that you have identified all the testing, and how many samples will be required for each test. You need to determine which steps of the testing process can be performed in parallel instead of performing tasks in series. For example, you will need to package and sterilize samples that are required for biocompatibility testing, but electrical safety testing samples can be non-sterile. Therefore, the packaging validation must be completed before biocompatibility testing, but the electrical safety and EMC testing can be performed in parallel with both activities. For most products, biocompatibility testing is one of the last tests that is typically completed, and the longest of these tests usually takes between 8-12 weeks. Therefore, 100 days is probably the fastest you can complete your verification and validation testing. During the entire verification and validation process, you should be preparing your 510k submission. This will ensure that the submission is ready when the last test report is received–instead of frantically rushing to complete the submission in just a few weeks at the end of the process.

Product Launch Phase 3 – Implementing Your Quality System

Many companies start their quality system at the beginning of the design process. However, you should only implement two procedures before completing your 510k submission: 1) design controls, and 2) risk management. These two procedures are needed to document your design history file (DHF) properly, and it is much harder to document your DHF after the design is completed. The balance of the procedures can be implemented in about 100 days, while your 510k submission should take between 90 and 180 days to receive clearance from the FDA. Therefore, you should be able to complete the quality system implementation before receipt of your 510k clearance letter.

“Rinse and Repeat” for Your Next Product Launch

Once you have completed your product launch, you should review the post-market surveillance from your customers during the first 90 days. I like to call this the 100-day review. One hundred days after the first product launch is the perfect time to conduct your first management review meeting. You should have your first internal audit completed during the first 100 days, and you should have a lot of great feedback from customers during the first 90 days of product use. Therefore, top management can review the customer feedback, internal audit results, and progress toward other quality objectives to identify improvement action items needed. These improvements may be quality system improvements and/or product improvements. One of the outputs of your first management review meeting should also be an identification of your next product development.

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Special Controls Guidance Document – Content and Format

This article explains the content and format of a special controls guidance document issued for Class 2 medical devices regulated by the CDRH division of the US FDA.

Searching Guidance Documents Special Controls Guidance Document   Content and Format

There are many differences between Class 1 and Class 2 medical devices regulated by the FDA, but one of the primary differences is that many (not all) Class 2 medical devices have a special controls guidance document. Class 1 devices only have “general controls.” These “special” guidance documents can be found on the FDA website by searching the guidance document database. The title of each guidance document typically begins with “Class II Special Controls Guidance Document.” The middle of each title specifies the device type, and the end of the title states, “- Guidance for Industry and FDA Staff.” However, there are many exceptions.

Status of a Special Controls Guidance Document

A guidance document may be a final guidance or a draft guidance. Only the final guidance is considered official, however, draft guidance often indicate what the FDAs current thinking is on a topic. Draft guidance documents sometimes take years before they are approved as a final guidance. Sometimes the draft is so controversial that it will even be withdrawn. The FDA also publishes a list each year of planned guidance documents for the next fiscal year. Some of the final versions of special controls guidance documents were written in the 1990’s, but these documents remain the current final guidance until a new final guidance is approved. Often there is no urgent need to update a guidance document, because there are one or more active ISO Standards specific to the product classification and the standard(s) is recognized by the FDA.

Outline of a Recent Special Controls Guidance Document

Here is the general outline that is currently being used by the FDA for a special control guidance document for Class 2 devices:

  1. Introduction
  2. Topic – Background
  3. Pre-Market Notification – Background
  4. Scope
  5. Risks to Health
  6. Specific Device Description Requirements
  7. Performance Studies
  8. Device Specific Labeling
  9. References

Each product classification has the potential for slightly different requirements due to the differences in types of devices. For example, in vitro diagnostic products do not have animal studies and typically have human clinical study requirements for the performance section of the guidance document. However, an implant is more likely to have details about the materials of construction, biocompatibility and sterilization.

Searching the Guidance Database

There are 8 fields that are searchable for the guidance database.

  1. Product
  2. Date Issued
  3. FDA Organization
  4. Document Type
  5. Subject
  6. Draft or Final
  7. Open for Comment
  8. Comment Closing Date on Draft

For a De Novo application, I sometimes need to create a proposed draft special controls guidance. For this activity, I prefer to find a representative template. In order to do this, I will typically use four of these search fields. First, I narrow the product field to “medical devices” and the FDA organization to “CDRH.” Second, I select “guidance documents” for the document type. Finally, I select “premarket” for the subject and “final.” This narrows the list to 374 documents. Not all of the 374 documents are specific to a product classification, because some of these documents cover more general premarket issues such as risks of wireless telemetry.

You can further narrow your search by adding a word or words to the keyword search field. Therefore, if you are looking for a specific guidance you can find it very quickly.

Format of Special Controls Guidance Documents

If you submit a proposed draft guidance to the FDA (anyone can do this), there is no specific required format. However, I recommend copying the most recent format used by the FDA in order to minimize the amount of work required by the FDA for modifying the guidance prior to publishing your guidance as a draft. You also do not need to include all the sections of a guidance. Some of the guidance documents only update certain sections where technological characteristics have recently changed significantly. Most importantly, if you have a strong reason for deviating from what the FDA has always done–do it. The format of guidance documents has changed since the 90’s and will continue to do so.

Additional Resources

If you are preparing a premarket notification (i.e., 510k submission), you might have more questions than just guidance document availability. You might be interested in purchasing “How to Prepare Your 510k in 100 Days” or the on-line 510k Course or one of our Live 510k Workshops.

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Three (3) important technical file and 510k submission differences

This article explains the three (3) critical technical file and 510k submission differences: 1) risk, 2) CER, and 3) PMCF.

3 different apples Three (3) important technical file and 510k submission differences

Three important technical file and 510k submission differences

There are many differences between a technical file and a 510k submission, including the fact that technical files are audited annually while a 510k submission is reviewed only once. ISO 14971 requires a risk management file, whether you are selling a medical device in the EU or the USA, but the US FDA doesn’t require that you submit a risk management file as part of the 510k submission. If you design and develop a medical device with software, you must submit a risk analysis if the software has a moderate level of concern or higher. However, risk analysis is only a small portion of a risk management file.

Only 10-15% of 510k submissions require clinical studies, but 100% of medical devices with CE Marking require a clinical evaluation report (CER) as an essential requirement in the technical file. The clinical evaluation report (CER) is an essential requirement (ER) 6a in Annex I of the Medical Device Directive (MDD). Even class 1 devices that are non-sterile and have no measuring function require a clinical evaluation report (CER). Yes, even adhesive tape with a CE Mark requires a clinical evaluation report in the technical file.

Annex X, 1.1c of the Medical Device Directive (MDD), requires that medical device manufacturers perform a post-market clinical follow-up (PMCF) study or provide a justification for not conducting a post-market clinical follow-up (PMCF) study. In the past, companies attempted to claim that their device is equivalent to other medical devices, and therefore a post-market clinical follow-up (PMCF) study is not required. However, in January 2012, a guidance document (MEDDEV 2.12/2) was published to provide guidance regarding when a PMCF study needs to be conducted. This guidance makes it clear that PMCF studies are required for many devices–regardless of equivalence to other devices already on the market.

Risk management file for technical file and 510k submission

The FDA only requires documentation of risk management in a 510k submission if the product contains software, and the risk is at least a “moderate concern.” Even though you are required to perform a risk analysis, a knee implant would not require submission of the risk analysis with the 510k. If a product is already 510k cleared, you may be surprised to receive audit nonconformities related to your risk management documentation for CE Marking. The most common deficiencies with a risk management file are:

  1. compliant with ISO 14971:2007 instead of EN ISO 14971:2012
  2. reduction of risks as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP) instead of reducing risks as far as possible (AFAP)
  3. reducing risks by notifying users and patients of residual risks in the IFU
  4. only addressing unacceptable risks with risk controls instead of all risks–including negligible risks

If you are looking for a risk management procedure, please click here. You might also be interested in my previous blog about preparing a risk management file.

Clinical evaluation report (CER) for technical file and 510k submission

The FDA does not require a clinical evaluation report (CER), and up until 2010, only some CE Marked products were required to provide a clinical evaluation report (CER). In 2010 the Medical Device Directive (MDD) was revised, and now a clinical evaluation report (CER) is a general requirement for all medical devices (i.e., Essential Requirement 6a). This requirement can be met by performing a clinical study or by performing a literature review. Since 510k devices only require a clinical study 10-15% of the time, it is unusual for European Class 1, Class IIa, and Class IIb devices to have clinical studies. This also means that very few clinical studies are identified in literature reviews of these low and medium-risk devices.

The most common problem with the clinical evaluation reports (CERs) is that the manufacturer did not use a pre-approved protocol for the literature search. Other common issues include an absence of documented qualifications for the person performing the clinical evaluation and failure to include a copy of the articles reviewed in the clinical evaluation report (CER). These requirements are outlined in MEDDEV 2.7/1, but the amount of work required to perform a clinical evaluation that meets these requirements can take 80 hours to complete.

If you are looking for a procedure and literature search protocol for preparing a clinical evaluation report (CER), please click here. You might also be interested in my previous blog about preparing a clinical evaluation report (CER).

Post-Market Surveillance (PMS) & Post-Market Clinical Follow-up (PMCF) Studies for technical file and 510k submission

Post-market clinical follow-up (PMCF) is only required for the highest risk devices by the FDA. For CE Marking, however, all product families are required to have evidence of post-market clinical follow-up (PMCF) studies or a justification for why post-market clinical follow-up (PMCF) is not required. The biggest mistake I see is that manufacturers refer to their post-market surveillance (PMS) procedure as the post-market surveillance (PMS) plan for their product family, and they say that they do not need to perform a post-market clinical follow-up (PMCF) study because the device is substantially equivalent to several other devices on the market.

Manufacturers need to have post-market surveillance (PMS) plan that is specific to a product or family of products. The post-market surveillance (PMS) procedure needs to be updated to identify the frequency and product-specific nature of post-market surveillance (PMS) for each product family or a separate document that needs to be created for each product family. For devices that are high-risk, implantable, or devices that have innovative characteristics, the manufacturer will need to perform some post-market clinical follow-up (PMCF) studies. Even products with clinical studies might require post-market clinical follow-up (PMCF) because the clinical studies may not cover changes to the device, accessories, and range of sizes. MEDDEV 2.12/2 provides guidance on the requirements for post-market clinical follow-up (PMCF) studies. Still, most companies manufacturing moderate-risk devices do not have experience obtaining patient consent to access medical records to collect post-market clinical follow-up (PMCF) data–such as postoperative imaging.

Procedures & Webinars

If you are looking for a procedure for post-market surveillance (PMS), please click here. If you are interested in learning more about post-market surveillance and post-market clinical follow-up (PMCF) studies, we also have a webinar on this topic.

Posted in: 510(k), CE Marking

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How to create a template for 510k submission device description

This article explains how to create a template for a 510k submission device description (i.e., Section 11). The template addresses each of the requirements of a device description in the FDA refusal to accept (RTA) guidance document. The template also serves as a summary technical document (STED) for submission to a Notified Body for CE Marking.

Screenshot 2015 11 04 at 8.41.36 AM How to create a template for 510k submission device description

You would think that it’s tough to screw up the device description, but the FDA screening reviewer is completing a new refusal to accept (RTA) checklist (effective October 1, 2015). That checklist has specific requirements for a device description. If you copy the device description from your draft IFU, then you will probably receive an RTA letter on Day 15 of the RTA screening process. The review “clock” is reset to zero, and you have to revise your device description and re-submit.

There are four specific requirements (questions 9-12) in section “B” of the RTA checklist, which is titled “Device Description.” In addition to this, there are similar requirements for inclusion in a device description for technical file and design dossier submissions to Notified Bodies. Rather than creating two different device description documents, I prefer to create a template that addresses each of the regulatory requirements in a single controlled document. Therefore, I created a template for the 510k submission device description with the following headings for Section 11 of the 510k submission:

  1. Product or trade name
  2. General description—including the intended purpose. The general description must be consistent with the device description in the labeling, and this section of the document is intended to address section 10 of the refusal to accept (RTA) checklist.
  3. A list and description of each device for which a 510(k) clearance is requested in the submission. The list may refer to models, part numbers, various sizes, etc. This section of the document is intended to address section 11c of the refusal to accept (RTA) checklist. It may be helpful to combine this section with section 3 of the template, providing a table with a UDI device identifier for each product listed.
  4. UDI device identifier(s)—if available.
  5. Intended patient population, medical condition to be diagnosed and/or treated, and other considerations such as patient selection criteria.
  6. Principles of operation of the device. This section of the document is intended to address section 11a of the refusal to accept (RTA) checklist.
  7. A description of proposed conditions of use, such as a surgical technique for implants, anatomical location of use, user interface, how the device interacts with other devices, and/or how the device interacts with the patient. This section of the document is intended to address section 11b of the refusal to accept (RTA) checklist.
  8. Risk class and applicable classification rule, according to Annex VII (proposed EU regulations) or Annex IX (MDD). For this section, I will cross-reference to a controlled document that includes the complete classification rationale, while this section only includes the classification and the applicable rule(s).
  9. Explanation of novel features (be careful, this is a regulatory document and not a marketing document).
  10. Description of components, accessories, other medical devices, and other products that are not medical devices, which are intended to be used in combination with the device. The 510k number should identify each component/accessory that was part of a previous submission. Any component(s)/accessory(s) that have not received prior clearance should also be identified. Sometimes a side-by-side table for USA and EU markets is needed for accessories where different accessories are used in different markets. This section of the document is intended to address section 12a, b, and c of the refusal to accept (RTA) checklist.
  11. Description or a complete list of the various configurations/variants of the device that will be available
  12. General description of the key functional elements, formulation, composition, and functionality—including labeled pictorial representations (e.g., diagrams, photographs, and drawings)
  13. Raw materials incorporated into key functional elements and those making direct contact with the human body or indirect contact with the body
  14. Technical Specifications of the device and any variants and accessories that would typically appear in the product specification made available to the user, e.g., in brochures, catalogues and the like.
  15. Representative engineering drawing(s), schematics, illustrations, photos, and/or figures of the device. This section of the document is intended to address section 11d of the refusal to accept (RTA) checklist.
  16. Reference to similar and previous generations of the device. It is important to make sure these devices are included in the clinical evaluation report. If you are submitting a 510k submission, you want to make sure that any devices are registered and listed with the US FDA in the same product category. For a device with multiple predicates, it may be necessary to create a table that organizes the “similar” devices by intended use and technological characteristics.
  17. Requirements specific to the special controls guidance document. This section of the template is intended to address section 9 of the refusal to accept (RTA) checklist.

The last section of the device description STED is for any unique requirements specific to the special controls guidance document for the product classification I am working on. However, most of the requirements for a device description are met by the previous items in my outline. Therefore, I create a table that outlines each of the requirements of the special controls guidance document, and I provide a cross-reference to the section of the outline that includes this requirement. If there are requirements not covered elsewhere in the document, I address the requirement in the table itself. If there is no special controls guidance document, then I state that no special controls guidance document exists for the product.

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