Digital Health & Medical Devices

At the beginning of February, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) appointed Professor Kevin Fu as the first ever Acting Director of Medical Device Cybersecurity. Fu’s role also includes a one-year appointment with the Digital Health Center of Excellence (DHCoE), a division launched in September 2020 within CDRH.  Many see this new appointment as an indication that the Agency will make cybersecurity a priority in 2021.
Continue Reading FDA Appointment Signals Increased Attention on Medical Device Cybersecurity

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published an Action Plan for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) software on January 12, 2021 that provides near-term actions to develop a regulatory framework for AI and ML-based medical devices.  The quick takeaway is that FDA will publish a draft guidance on change control plans, a key concept from its April 2019 discussion paper on AI/ML-based software devices (previously reported here). FDA also will hold a public workshop on algorithm transparency and engage its partners and stakeholders on other key initiatives, such as evaluating bias in algorithms. While the Action Plan proposes a roadmap for advancing a regulatory framework, an operational framework appears to be further down the road.
Continue Reading FDA’s Action Plan for Artificial Intelligence: Highlights and Insights for Developers

On September 23, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a proposed rule to modify its intended use regulations.  In its current form, the regulations have created long-standing confusion as to whether mere knowledge of an unapproved use of an approved product (i.e., off-label) automatically triggers a new “intended use,” for which clearance or approval is required.  The proposed rule clarifies that knowledge alone of off-label use would not create a new intended use, but confirms the Agency’s long-standing position that “any relevant source” of evidence (including knowledge) may be used to determine intended use.  Comments on the proposed rule are due within 30 days unless FDA grants an extension.
Continue Reading FDA’s Proposed Rule on “Intended Use” Confirms Agency Will Rely on “Any Relevant Source” of Evidence

On September 14, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released an update on the status of its Software Precertification (Pre-Cert) Program.  It is the only public update on the program in 2020.  According to the update, FDA will continue to evaluate its Pre-Cert program, which currently is only in pilot form.  Perhaps disappointing to many companies, the update did not suggest that FDA will be adding new participants to the pilot program at this time, nor did it signal that the program would be fully operational anytime soon.
Continue Reading Latest Update on FDA’s Software Pre-Cert Pilot Program

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