FDA Recognition of Consensus Standards in the Premarket Notification Program

Biomed Instrum Technol. May-Jun 1998;32(3):301-4.


"The FDA has long advocated the use of standards as a significant contributor to safety and effectiveness of medical devices," Center for Devices and Radiological Health's (CDRH) Donald E. Marlowe and Philip J. Phillips note in the following article, highlighting the latest U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plans for use of standards. They note that the important role standards can play has been reinforced as part of FDA reengineering efforts undertaken in anticipation of an increased regulatory work-load and declining agency resources. As part of its restructuring effort, the FDA announced last spring that it would recognize some consensus standards for use in the device approval process. Under the new 510(k) paradigm--the FDA's proposal to streamline premarket review, which includes incorporating the use of standards in the review of 510(k) submissions--the FDA will accept proof of compliance with standards as evidence of device safety and effectiveness. Manufacturers may submit declarations of conformity to standards instead of following the traditional review process. The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 60601 series of consensus standards, which deals with many safety issues common to electrical medical devices, was the first to be chosen for regulatory review. Other standards developed by nationally or internationally recognized standards development organizations, such as AAMI, may be eligible for use to ensure review requirements. In the following article, Marlowe and Phillips describe the FDA's plans to use standards in the device review process. The article focuses on the use of standards for medical device review, the development of the standards recognition process for reviewing devices, and the anticipated benefits of using standards to review devices. One important development has been the recent implementation of the FDA Modernization Act of 1997 (FDAMA), which advocates the use of standards in the device review process. In implementing the legislation, the FDA published in the Federal Register a list of standards to which manufacturers may declare conformity. Visit AAMI's Web site at www.aami.org/news/fda.standards for a copy of the list and for information on nominating other standards for official recognition by the agency. The FDA expects that use of standards will benefit the agency and manufacturers alike: "We estimate that in time, reliance on declarations of conformity to recognized standards could save the agency considerable resources while reducing the regulatory obstacles to entry to domestic and international markets," state the authors.

MeSH terms

  • Equipment Safety / standards
  • Equipment and Supplies / economics
  • Equipment and Supplies / standards*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • International Cooperation
  • Marketing of Health Services
  • United States
  • United States Food and Drug Administration / legislation & jurisprudence*