Mar 9, 2011

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a clarification regarding medical device manufacturers’ and importers’ compliance with malfunction report rules according to the agency’s Medical Device Reporting regulation.

The requirements temporarily cover not only high-risk devices but also Class I and II devices that are not permanently implantable, life-supporting or life-sustaining.

The Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007 (FDAAA) requires manufacturers and importers of Class III as well as permanently implantable or life-supporting Class II devices to submit malfunction reports unless granted exemptions by the US Secretary of Health and Human Services or FDA. The FDAAA changed such rules for Class I and low-risk Class II devices, requiring quarterly reporting of malfunctions in summary form, except in instances where the regulator deems a device subject to stricter reporting rules in order to protect public health. In such instances, the FDA will notify those device manufacturers or importers in writing—or post a Federal Register notice—that they would have to provide malfunction reports in a manner that fully complies with the FDA’s Medical Device Reporting rule.

For the time being, however, the FDA will now require all devices to malfunction reporting requirements previously targeting higher-risk devices. The agency plans to more clearly define which devices fall under the less rigorous quarterly malfunction reporting category. In the meantime, the FDA’s clarification states that the agency will subject all devices to more exacting reporting requirements “in order to protect the public health by ensuring that there is no gap in malfunction reporting for any device.”

Interested parties may submit written or electronic comments on the clarification until May 9.


  • Stewart Eisenhart