New Bill Aims To Bring Consistency, Transparency To US FDA Inspections
US Sens. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Michael Bennet, D-Colo., introduced legislation that calls for adopting a uniform FDA inspection process to ensure parity between audits of foreign and domestic device firms, notifying manufacturers in advance of records that will be requested during an inspection, and specifying a window of time for investigators to conduct their onsite inspections, among other requirements.
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Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-GA, who has sponsored and backed several key pieces of device-industry legislation over the last several years, said on 28 August that he will retire from the US Senate on 31 December 2019, due to health challenges.
The FDA Reauthorization Act, enacted last month, includes provisions that aim to improve FDA's inspection process, including putting a stop to arbitrary audit scheduling by the agency – a practice that can cause a facility inspection to drag on for weeks at a time. FDA has until early 2019 to draft a guidance document that lays out how it will ensure a more uniform inspection process that ensures greater parity between foreign and domestic audits. Steps mandated by the new law include notifying firms in advance of records that will be requested during an inspection and specifying a window of time for investigators to conduct the onsite inspections. But industry experts are of two minds as to whether any substantial changes will result from the new law. Also: FDA device center Director Jeff Shuren weighs in.
President Trump's eleventh-hour signature on the FDA Reauthorization Act puts into play about $1bn in device user-fee collections from industry through FY 2022, new US FDA performance goals and a range of device process enhancements and reforms supported by industry.