Being in the regulatory industry is not as cut and dry as most people think. Sure, you do have to read a lot, usually till your eyes bleed, but as soon as you get your device placed on the market, it will all be worth it. But it has some great moments, too. Chances are you will have lots of fun while developing and launching the product or even just going through the literature related to your medical device.
However, there is no denying that there are some regulatory requirements for medical devices, and being related to medical device manufacturing requires a thorough familiarity with regulations.
Why? The first objective is, of course, patient safety and satisfaction with care. Not to mention, breaking the regulations might lead to legal difficulties, which is something no one likes to deal with. Regulations will also help you to get appropriate clearances for your medical device to enter the market. And, hey, these rules can actually help you improve the quality and originality of your medical device. After all, who doesn’t want their name to be associated with producing high-quality, dependable devices? That’s how you build a solid rapport with your customers. Doing things properly improves your brand’s image because customers appreciate trustworthy businesses. Since medical device is a very niche business, you really can’t risk it.
In this article, we will take a look at the most important, significant requirements you are expected to fulfill. It’s always good to have these solid foundations in place so that you can build the rest on them.
Significant regulatory requirements for medical devices
Regulations and laws are always changing and differ vastly depending on the country or even geographical location. The laws in the places you intend to sell or use your gadget may differ from those in other areas.
So, figuring out exactly which requirements you need is a bit tricky and depends on the medical device regulations authority in that area. For example, the medical device regulation in the US is the FDA, and the MDR in the EU. Both are completely different when it comes to the details of the requirements. However, in terms of regulatory control, both are equally effective.
Since all regulatory authorities in the world are more or less concerned about one thing: device safety and efficacy, the requirements, while varying in degree of data and names, are pretty similar. Especially since most of them were drawn up with the current good manufacturing practices in mind.
Here are the top five basic and the most significant requirements you will find in almost all regulations in some form.
When it comes to medical devices, classification is almost always a requirement, no matter the regulatory authority. Medical devices are usually classified depending on their risk level, which is important in establishing the level of regulatory control and the type of premarket submission necessary. This system guarantees that proper safeguards are in place to protect patients and maintain product quality. So, understanding the classification system is critical for makers, regulators, and healthcare professionals alike, whether it’s a low-risk or high-risk device.
For example, the requirements for class iii medical devices are quite more than those for class ii devices. Class I devices, universally, are the safest ones and, hence, require very little clinical data.
Safety and effectiveness data
Safety and effectiveness or performance is really one of the key requirements of any medical device. You have to do a good amount of testing and risk analysis and ensure the device works correctly according to its intended use before releasing it. You also have to research the substantially equivalent devices that have been studied before to make sure your device falls in line with those.
Extensive clinical research and testing are also carried out to ensure the device’s dependability and functionality. Regulatory authorities may ensure that medical devices are safe and effective and meet the highest quality and reliability standards by meticulously adhering to these comprehensive guidelines. The requirements are naturally higher in high risk devices.
Quality System Regulations
You have to create and maintain a good Quality Management System (QMS) for your device, as it will undoubtedly be a part of the regulatory criteria. When it comes to medical devices, QMS covers the complete lifespan of the medical device, from design and development to manufacturing and distribution, even after it is in the market. The QMS guarantees that all processes and activities linked to the medical device are managed, recorded, and constantly improved to assure product safety, efficacy, and compliance with applicable requirements. By establishing an effective QMS, you demonstrate your company’s commitment to quality, improve patient safety, and meet the severe criteria of the medical device business.
Medical device listing and registration
Most regulatory authorities call for medical device listing and registration of some form these days. In the EU, you have to register your device and assign it a Unique Device Identifier (UDI). The UDI is a string of numbers or letters that is unique to each medical equipment. This requirement is significant since it aids in the identification and tracking of medical equipment on the market. The point of these numbers is that medical device manufacturers can track all devices individually. Hence, when and if adverse events occur, the tracked device can be pulled and the cause analyzed.
Surveillance and Vigilance
A strong surveillance and vigilance system is equally important as proving safety and performance. The system ensures that necessary actions are made to protect patients by quickly detecting and addressing any potential concerns or adverse events. It entails a comprehensive approach that includes detailed data analysis, proactive risk management, and timely contact with regulatory authorities and healthcare specialists.