Consumers Union Says “About Time Too” As It Welcomes FDA’s Proposed Unique Device Identification Regulations

On the same page?

Wherever you are in the world you can’t have missed the ongoing debate about the future of medical device regulations, driven in no small part by metal-on-metal hip problems, which have evolved into the “thing we must guard against” in future. We’re watching things unfold on both sides of the pond, and noting the gradual harmonisation of some elements of the thinking.

Areas where there seems to be a degree of agreement include the need for implant registries, one such registry having been the catalyst that brought the hip problem to everyone’s attention.

Closely related to the registry concept is the Unique Device Identification (UDI) proposal, which aims to improve monitoring and tracking of implanted devices. The FDA has recently issued a proposed regulation to establish a unique device identification (UDI) system for medical devices marketed in the U.S.

For most medical devices, the UDI will include a device identifier, which is a unique code tied to a specific device model, and a production identifier, which includes production information for the device.  The FDA has proposed phasing in the implementation of the UDI system beginning with the highest risk medical devices first.  Low risk devices will be exempt from some or all of the regulations.

Legislation passed by Congress in June requires the FDA to implement the UDI system for high risk, life sustaining and implantable medical devices within two years of finalising the regulations.

Guarded welcome

Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy division of Consumer Reports, applauded the FDA for issuing the proposed regulations, while noting that it was still reviewing the draft rule.  Consumers Union will file formal comments to the proposed regulations later this year.

CU comments

“These regulations are long overdue and are critical for protecting patients from faulty and dangerous medical devices,” said Lisa Swirsky, senior policy analyst for Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy division of Consumer Reports.  “Effective post-market surveillance of medical devices depends on having UDI in place.  Once it is fully implemented, this system will enhance the FDA’s ability to identify problem medical devices more quickly and inform patients when their safety is at risk.”

The FDA is seeking public comment on the proposed regulations for 120 days.

SOURCE Consumers Union, PR Newswire