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Regulating Medical Devices Shapes Industry for the Better

Regulating Medical Devices Shapes Industry for the Better

This article originally appeared in Business Worldwide magazine. It’s fashionable to be anti-regulation in business today. But sometimes regulation is central to how a sector operates. We talk to Rita King, CEO of MethodSense and Russ King, President of MethodSense about why regulation of medical device, biotech and pharma companies is so critical. Most devices and innovations need to go through a complex system of regulatory approval. In order to obtain market entry, some argue that regulatory agencies like the US-based Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are too zealous, preventing or delaying life-saving innovations from entering the market. Richard Williams, an affiliated scholar at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, cites an example where three medical devices submitted for approval took nine years to process. He argues that it costs on average $24 million to manage FDA requirements. “A mid-1970s law,” he argues, “requires virtually every medical device—and improvements to existing devices—to endure a slow, expensive, uncertain approval process, ill-suited to 21st-century technology. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which grants such approval, has an ageing structure and culture that adds extra layers of discouragement to would-be innovators.” But what are the benefits of regulation, and how can pharma and tech companies manage the process of compliance more smoothly? MethodSense is a company that exists to assist companies with FDA and other regulatory agencies to obtain market entry for their medical device products. We talked to Rita King, CEO of MethodSense, and Russ King, President of MethodSense, about what they do and why regulation matters. What kinds of services do you provide as a company? “MethodSense’s consulting service approach is a...
FDA Oversight of Laboratory Developed Tests (LDTs) is on the Horizon

FDA Oversight of Laboratory Developed Tests (LDTs) is on the Horizon

How Do Laboratory Developed Tests Impact Your Business? The Office of Public Health Strategy and Analysis recently issued a report that reviewed 20 products that relied on Laboratory Developed Tests (LDTs) to determine whether a lack of oversight may have caused actual harm to patients or not. Once, LDTs were relatively simple tests that may not have warranted regulatory compliance. However, these tests are playing an increasingly more important role in healthcare and have become significantly more complex. The concern is that these tests may present with inaccuracies that place patients at what would be considered otherwise avoidable risk. The report found that these 20 products, in fact, may have caused actual harm to patients. In some cases, patients were told they have conditions they do not really have, due to false-positive tests. This led to unnecessary distress and resulted in unneeded treatment. In other cases, the LTDs produced false-negative results, in which life-threatening diseases went undetected. These misdiagnosed patients failed to receive treatments. Additionally, some LTDs provided information with no relevance to the condition they were intended to be used for, and others were linked to treatments based on disproven scientific concepts. Not only do these situations cause harm to patients, but they are also costly to society.(1) The report found that FDA oversight of LTDs is needed to address the following: Lack of evidence supporting the clinical validity of tests Deficient adverse event reporting No premarket review of performance data Unsupported manufacturer claims Inadequate product labeling Lack of transparency Uneven playing field Threats to the scientific integrity of clinical trials No comprehensive listing of all LTDs being used...
Colliding Cultures: Software Development and the Medical Device Industry

Colliding Cultures: Software Development and the Medical Device Industry

Part 1 – Medical Device Software, the FDA and the US Congress Preface: In any given 2-week period, an average of 15% to 20% of the applications on my smartphone have new versions to fix software bugs. Others I speak with experience similar statistics. And, that doesn’t include how often my smartphone software crashes while executing tasks it was intended to perform. We don’t complain about it. Instead, we accept this state of constant, almost continuous, software revision to fix bugs as a matter of “how things are.” We have come to terms with the fact that the normal state of software is for it to be broken, in need of repair and “acceptably” functional, while simultaneously defective. One might think, given the prevalence and importance of software, we would reject software disrepair as normal – especially for critical applications that impact safety. But, the evidence suggests otherwise. If you perform a search on the FDA Medical Device Recall Database from January 1, 2013 to August 14, 2015, you will see 500 device recalls reported. This is the maximum number of rows the FDA report supports in a single query (meaning more than 500 devices were recalled). Enter the keyword “software” into the search, and the query returns 344 recalls due to medical device software. Reviewing randomly through these notices confirms that software issues played an instrumental – or the only – role in the recalls. And, all but nine are Class I or Class II recalls in response to a risk of temporary or serious adverse health consequences due to software problems. Is software so difficult and challenging...
Implement 21 CFR Part 820 Controls Early On

Implement 21 CFR Part 820 Controls Early On

Benefits and Risks of Moving to the Cloud Migrating to the Cloud: What are the Benefits? According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the cloud is “a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.” Most companies’ IT infrastructure use less than 30% of their capacity. It took years to get the capacity to where it is today, and it takes months to increase capacity. Employing qualified resources to maintain such an infrastructure is difficult and expensive. Cloud providers utilize about 65% of their capacity and can add capacity quickly. In short, cloud providers benefit from economies of scale, which enables them to lower individual usage costs and centralize infrastructure costs. Companies benefit by only paying for what they consume. Companies can increase or decrease their usage rapidly, and can spend less time managing complex IT resources. Not only do efficiency improvements reduce costs, the nature of some costs can change from being capital investment in hardware and infrastructure (CapEx) to a pay-as-you go (OpEx) model. Maximizing IT capacity utilization, improving IT flexibility and responsiveness, and minimizing cost are not the only advantages of the cloud. Collaboration can be one of the most important advantages of cloud computing. Multiple users, from around the world, can collaborate more easily on documents and projects. Because the information is hosted in the cloud, and not on individual computers, business owners can collaborate with external stakeholders in a secure environment with nothing...
21 CFR Part 820 Ensures Your Device is Safe and Effective

21 CFR Part 820 Ensures Your Device is Safe and Effective

An Early Practical Handle on 21 CFR Part 820 Improves Your Medical Device Business Operations The purpose of regulatory affairs is to ensure that your company complies with applicable laws and regulations. These regulations, such as Quality System Regulation 21 CFR Part 820, are intended to ensure devices entering the marketplace are safe and effective. What is the Quality System Regulation? FDA has identified in the Quality System (QS) regulation the essential elements that a quality system must embody, without prescribing specific ways to establish them. Because the QS regulation covers a broad spectrum of devices, production processes, etc., it allows some leeway for medical device manufacturers to determine the necessity for, or extent of, some quality elements and to develop and implement specific procedures tailored to their particular processes and devices. If you don’t fully understand 21 CFR Part 820 and how to apply it properly to your company, find a medical device regulatory consultant who does. Having experience in this area is critical to efficiently implementing compliance that supports your business goals. Quality System Regulation 21 CFR Part 820 focuses on current good manufacturing processes (cGMP) and controls used for the design, packaging, labeling, storage, installation and servicing for all finished devices intended for human use. You should know that 21 CFR Part 820: Is an FDA-mandated system of product design Requires you to document the evolution of the life of your product Applies a market-first product development focus Requires a team-oriented approach to product commercialization As a process, tends to challenge product design to the point of improvement Compliance is a necessary expense; don’t put yourself in a...
How to Structure a New Medical Device Business

How to Structure a New Medical Device Business

There’s More to Being a Medical Device Business than IP and R&D An emerging medical device business tends to focus their energy on product development and R&D. This is understandable because medical device founders are often first experienced innovators. As innovators, there’s a natural affinity to maintain a continued focus on product development and maturation. Having a clear IP position and strategy is an important factor for attracting capital, which could further emphasize the importance of R&D, product development and market analysis. Nevertheless, being and growing as a viable medical device business catering to the U.S. market requires much more than R&D, positioning your IP and measuring how big your market is. It involves developing an operational framework that structures your organization as a medical device company (Figure 1) and enables the commercialization of your product. Some Medical Device Business Requirements: Regulatory Affairs Risk Assessment and Risk Management found in FDA Guidances and ISO 14971 Compliance to IEC 62304 to manage software risks Quality Management Design Controls that are included in FDA 21 CFR Part 820 QMS requirements you might find in Part 820 and ISO 13485 FDA 21 CFR Part 11, if your device incorporates software Safety Complying with IEC 60601-1 3rd Edition and its collateral standards Clinical data or a clinical trial When wrestling with regulatory, quality and safety issues, executives fresh to the medical device industry often take uncertain or delayed steps as they navigate the path to becoming a medical device company. The biggest mistakes we see emerging medical device business executives make include delaying the development of their regulatory strategy and their quality system, which...