The FDA regulates medical devices by their risk level and each medical device fits into one of three classes. Class I are medical devices that have the least risk to the patient and Class III are the most risky medical devices. However, roughly 50% of all US medical devices are regulated as class II medical devices. Class II medical devices are different from the class I and class III medical devices because they have their own review pathways, pre-market controls, and post-market requirements.
FDA Regulatory Review for Class II Medical Devices
Sometimes class II medical devices are called “510(k) devices.” 510(k) refers to the application process for class II devices, also known as a “premarket notification.” The 510(k) is a compilation of technical documents and verification and validation testing that are submitted to the FDA to support the marketing of a medical device. The premise of a 510(k) is that the device is “substantially equivalent” to an existing, marketed medical device in terms of safety and equivalency. The manufacturer must select one existing marketed medical device to compare against their new product, this device is called a predicate device.
As part of the verification and validation testing, the manufacturer may want to conduct head-to-head testing to compare the safety of their product against the competitive product. A successful, well-written 510(k) will demonstrate how despite any technological differences or cosmetic differences, the new medical device does not introduce any new risks and does not produce any new outcomes. Therefore the new medical device and the predicate medical device are substantially equivalent. The two devices must provide the user and the patient with the same output. The new medical device should not necessarily be better than the predicate device. However, there can be competitive benefits that do not impact the safety or efficacy of the device.
Clearance or Approval of 510(K) Device?
One nuisance of a 510(k) is that the FDA does not provide 510(k) medical devices with an “approval.” After the 510(k) process, manufacturers receive clearance from the FDA to market their 510(k) medical device. A 510(k) is considered a notice to the FDA about an equivalent device. To receive approval from the FDA, manufacturers must submit a Pre-Market Approval Application (PMA), which is typically reserved for Class III or if a device does not have a suitable predicate device.
Pre-market Regulatory Controls
In preparation for distributing a class II, device manufacturers must set up their manufacturing, labeling, and distribution facilities to meet all FDA requirements for medical device manufacturers. Manufacturers are responsible for establishing a quality policy and quality manual. All work must be completed under-defined “Standard Operating Procedures” and be documented. Manufacturing facilities must comply with good manufacturing practices. The FDA can inspect and audit any facility that is part of the manufacturing or distribution of a medical device. The FDA will audit manufacturing records and procedures.
Post-market Regulatory Controls
Post-510(k) clearance, the manufacturer must monitor the product’s use in the field. Manufacturers are responsible for documenting complaints, reporting adverse events to the FDA, and performing recalls as necessary. During an audit, the methods of how manufacturers choose to collect this information and the outcomes of these actions are reviewed thoroughly by the FDA.
Contact a Qualified Medical Device Design and Development Company Today!
The requirements for FDA-regulated medical devices can seem burdensome but DeviceLab has the expertise to help you understand and implement these requirements. No matter where you are in the process with your 510(k) product, DeviceLab is here to support your product’s development needs. Contact DeviceLab to set up a consultation.