Non-Binding Feedback FDA Inspections

FDA released a new guidance document titled, “Nonbinding Feedback After Certain FDA Inspections of Device Establishments, Guidance for Industry and Food and Drug Administration Staff.  This guidance was issued on April 22, 2020.  The background on the guidance states, “Timely nonbinding feedback can help device firms determine whether proposed actions to address inspectional observations are adequate, possibly avoiding unnecessary investment in potential solutions not likely to satisfactorily address an inspectional observation.”  There certainly might be situations where this guidance may prove useful to medical device manufacturers.

SoftwareCPR advises caution is using this approach.  Avoid rapid reaction to inspectional feedback and creating more problems moving forward.  All audit and inspectional feedback should be carefully analyzed to understand the quality management system as a whole.  Rarely is a finding localized to a single process … most often it involves many processes and often points to higher level management messages (or lack of).  Take the time to talk with everyone that has a role in the process and LISTEN.  Create venues where people are enabled to talk freely and openly about the processes.  Look for underlying themes … could it be that the processes are actually negatively affecting product quality?  Could people have been put into roles without adequate training?

Take the time to carefully consider changes and avoid patching processes.  Go back and build a more lean and optimized process.

You can download the draft guidance here:  Nonbinding Feedback After Certain FDA Inspections of Device Establishments Guidance for Industry and Food and Drug Administration Staff

About the author

Brian Pate helps medical device companies achieve efficient and FDA regulatory compliant product development to produce higher quality and clinically valued software. He began his career in clinical research in 1985 with the Department of Anesthesiology at UAB developing closed-loop control systems for the automated delivery of gases and control. In 1990, he made the switch from university research to the medical device industry designing control systems, communication interfaces, user interface, and other software for real-time embedded systems and clinical information systems, working for medical device companies including Johnson & Johnson, Baxter Healthcare, and GE Medical. Today, he is a Partner and the General Manager of Crisis Prevention and Recovery LLC (dba SoftwareCPR®), a general-purpose regulatory consulting firm that is recognized globally for their expertise with standards and national regulations pertaining to medical device, mobile medical app, and HealthIT software. He has taught the AAMI/FDA course on Software Regulation to FDA Reviewers at FDA and is currently the lead faculty for the public version of that course taught annually along with FDA staff. Brian served on the AAMI/FDA TIR working group that created AAMI TIR32 Guidance on the application of ISO 14971 to Software (later superseded by IEC 80002-1). He later served on the original AAMI/FDA working group that created the AAMI TIR45-2012 TIR Guidance on the use of Agile practices in the development of medical device software and is currently the co-chair leading the creation of the 2nd edition of TIR45. He has served as faculty for all offerings of the AAMI/FDA Compliant Use of Agile Methods public course. Brian also served as an instructor for the AAMI Design Controls course. He is also a member of the Underwriters’ Laboratories Standards Technical Panel 5500, Remote Software Updates. He now serves as a member of the AAMI Software Committee.

What’s New

FDA:  Exemptions, Variances, and Alternate Forms of Adverse Event Reporting for Medical Devices

Manufacturers, importers, and user facilities can request an exemption or variance from any or all of the medical device reporting requirements in 21 CFR Part 803.  Read more:  https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/medical-device-reporting-mdr-how-report-medical-device-problems/exemptions-variances-and-alternate-forms-adverse-event-reporting-medical-devices

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