This article explains how to obtain an FDA Certificate to Foreign Government when you are trying to submit an application for registration of a medical device to a regulatory body outside the United States (e.g., COFEPRIS approval for exports to Mexico).
What is an FDA Certificate to Foreign Government?
If you have a medical device that is registered and listed with the US FDA, then you can obtain a Certificate to Foreign Government from the US FDA. A Certificate to Foreign Government is a certificate issued by the US FDA verifying that your company may legally export the device, and the device may be distributed in the United States. Regulatory bodies in some countries request a “Certificate of Free Sale.” Still, these are issued by the US FDA for foods, while the agency issues Certificates to Foreign Governments for medical devices. The name of the certificate is not the same for all countries, and regulators use the terminology most familiar to their country. The US FDA has more information about the different types of certificates on the following FDA webpage: http://bit.ly/FDA-Export-Certificates.
How do you obtain a Certificate to Foreign Government?
The following page on the FDA website answers common questions about exporting medical devices. http://bit.ly/Exporting-Medical-Devices. One of the most common requirements of foreign registrations is providing a Certificate to Foreign Government. If your product is currently registered and listed with the US FDA, you are managing your registration and listing using an FDA Unified Registration and Listings System (FURLS) account (http://bit.ly/registration-listing-blog). Through this account, you can access the new CDRH Export Certification and Tracking System (CECATS). CECATS allows manufacturers to request export documents, including Certificates to Foreign Governments, online versus paper submissions. CECATS reduces certificate processing time and will enable you to validate firm-specific data in real-time. You can also obtain a status update for your certificate request. If you have additional questions about CECATS or export certificates, the FDA also created an Exporting FAQs page: http://bit.ly/Exporting-FAQs.
How much does a Certificate to Foreign Government Cost?
Certificates to Foreign Government are product specific and cost $175 for the original certificate. Each additional copy (official copies from the FDA are usually required) costs $15 per copy. Up to 50 pages (including the certificate, manufacturer page, and attachment pages) may be submitted for the same product. Each time an increment of 50 pages is exceeded, an additional fee of $175 will be charged.
If the original is three pages long and you request an original and ten copies (33 total pages), then your charge will be $175 for the original and $150 for the ten copies–a combined total of $325. However, an original and 20 copies (63 pages) would exceed the 50-page limit, and you would be charged $175 for the first original and $225 for the first 15 copies. You would then be charged $175 for a second original and another $60 for four more copies.
Don’t wait until the last minute to request Certificates to Foreign Governments. I recommend ordering 5-10 copies when you first register a product in the FURLS database, instead of waiting until you need it. The same is true of other types of certificates, such as CE Marking certificates from your Notified Body.