House Subcommittee Grills Shuren On Facility Inspection Shortfalls
Members of the House Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee probed FDA device-center chief Jeff Shuren about the agency's nascent efforts to improve facility inspections during a recent hearing on user-fee reauthorization. Lawmakers say they are hearing complaints from constituents about a lack of consistency and transparency in FDA inspection practices. Bills have now been introduced in both the House and Senate to address the issue, while FDA embarks on its "program alignment" upgrade to its inspections program.
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The Senate HELP Committee is ready to mark up user-fee reauthorization legislation May 10 that includes several device add-ons to the core industry-FDA agreement. Most of the additional reforms are supported by industry, but staffers have warned that putting too much extra legislative baggage into the user-fee package could slow it down. Reforms included address device facility inspections, device accessories' classification and post-market surveillance, among other issues.
A House Health subcommittee wants to attach a quartet of medtech bills to a fast-moving user fee package in Congress. The bills, which got a hearing before the Energy and Commerce Committee Health Subcommittee May 2, would streamline inspections and third-party certifications of device exports, refine FDA regulations on over-the-counter hearing aids, make third-party device equipment servicers register and file complaints with the agency, and clarify FDA product-center jurisdiction for contract agency-dependent imaging equipment.
Lawmakers emphasized the need for a swift reauthorization of a combined US FDA device and drug user-fee reauthorization bill before the end of July, and released a clean discussion draft April 14 that mirrors the agreements reached by industry and the agency last summer.