The U.S. FDA’s device center may still be grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the remainder of fiscal year 2021, but that does not mean other considerations have disappeared. The FDA’s Erin Keith said the agency will keep working on a major overhaul of the quality systems regulation (QSR) but will also work toward expanding industry’s use of advanced manufacturing technologies, such as additive manufacturing.
Several senior managers at the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) have been pushing the convergence between U.S. FDA and international quality systems standards, often with the claim that the two standards already are nearly completely aligned. However, Jack Garvey, CEO of Compliance Architects LLC, ran through a side-by-side comparison of ISO 13485 and Part 820 and maintained that the two standards are too conceptually and textually different to plausibly assert that they are 95% harmonized.
The U.S. FDA’s interest in harmonizing its regulations for medical devices with an international standard is a matter of record, but the agency has found this to be an enormously complicated task. Kim Trautman, executive vice president for medical device services at NSF International, of Ann Arbor, Mich., told BioWorld that the task of rewriting Part 820 to meet ISO 13485 in the middle is no mean feat, but also that it may be delayed again, this time because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The U.S. FDA’s effort to marry its quality systems regulations with ISO 13485 has hardly gone off without a hitch, but Melissa Torres, director of international programs at the FDA’s device center, said the agency is “very hopeful” it can publish a draft rule for that task by the end of this year.