Digital Health & Medical Devices

Immunity under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (“PREP”) Act is a moving target for government contractors and other companies manufacturing or distributing personal protective equipment (PPE) in the COVID-19 public health response. We wrote previously about new liability protections afforded to manufacturers and distributors of certain face masks approved by National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (“NIOSH”) through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and the later expanded scope of that protection provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act and amended PREP Act declaration by Department of Health and Human Services. Until recently, the list of devices eligible for liability immunity seemed to be continuously growing as the COVID-19 public health response required more and more PPE. But last week, the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) took a significant step back, retracting its Emergency Use Authorization (“EUA”) for respirators from 75 manufacturers in China, which previously had been approved for use in the response to COVID-19. This retraction has the additional effect of disqualifying government contractors, and other companies that distribute newly unauthorized respirators, from PREP Act immunity in connection with these devices.
Continue Reading Not So Fast – FDA Retracts Authorization for Some Respirators Made in China

As reported earlier here, FDA is taking steps to increase the availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and COVID-19 diagnostic tests, support the development of therapeutics, and facilitate remote patient access to healthcare providers. Key FDA regulatory developments since our last update include new Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) for face shields, N95 respirator decontamination systems, and equipment to treat respiratory failure. 
Continue Reading April 16 Update: Key FDA Actions for COVID-19 Devices and Therapies

This article originally appeared in Law360 on April 13.

The Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act, along with the declaration by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on countermeasures against COVID-19, provide hospital systems with broad liability protections for measures taken in response to the pandemic.
Continue Reading Upping Hospitals’ Liability Defenses For COVID Measures

*This article was originally posted in Law360 on November 4, 2019

With the rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning, clinical decision support, or CDS, software presents a novel opportunity to analyze immensely large amounts of data for patterns or other information that may be relevant to a particular patient’s diagnosis or health care options.
Continue Reading Adapting To FDA’s Proposal For Diagnosis Support Software

On September 26, 2019, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published six guidance documents clarifying its scope of authority and enforcement discretion policies in light of the 21st Century Cures Act (Cures Act). The long-awaited draft guidance on Clinical Decision Support (CDS) software sets forth FDA’s proposed approach to regulating CDS, including software that incorporates machine learning (ML) technology. Companies developing ML software for life science applications should consider reviewing FDA’s planned approach to inform their regulatory strategies.
Continue Reading New Set Of Guidance From FDA Provides Clarity On Digital Health Policies, Machine Learning

On September 19, 2019, FDA issued a guidance document, “Safety and Performance Based Pathway,” describing an optional pathway for medical devices with well-understood safety and performance profiles. The guidance signals FDA’s willingness to implement a more modern approach under the arcane 510(k) premarket pathway.
Continue Reading FDA’s New Safety and Performance Based Pathway for Medical Devices Reflects a More Modern Approach to Finding Substantial Equivalence

In April of this year, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a discussion paper, Proposed Regulatory Framework for Modifications to Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML) – Based Software as a Medical Device (SaMD), which proposed a novel regulatory framework for artificial intelligence (AI)-based medical devices.  The public docket closed on June 3, 2019, and FDA received over one hundred comments from manufacturers, industry associations, and other interested parties. The comments vary in support of FDA’s framework and largely urge FDA to align with external stakeholders that are already developing industry standards and clarify the agency’s expectations under the proposed framework.
Continue Reading Medical Devices – Artificial Intelligence and Reactions to FDA’s Proposed Oversight