Goal is improved discussion and flow of information

Health news WHO & FDA Release News FDA Changes Process for Medical Device Advisory Committees

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FDA Changes Process for Medical Device Advisory Committees

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today announced that it will change the way its expert panels review and discuss data and information during public hearings on medical devices under review for premarket approval, effective May 1, 2010.

The changes were prompted by an increasing number of medical device advisory panel meetings in recent years. In 2008, there were 10 panel meetings covering 14 major topics. In 2009, there were 17 meetings on 20 topics, and 2010 is on track to surpass those numbers, according to the FDAs Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH).

The increased activity has created challenges for CDRH and the way it operates panel meetings. In accord with current agency policy and guidance for advisory committees, the changes address staffing issues, voting procedures, and other items related to information presentation and flow of discussion.
These changes are expected to empower the agency to make more effective decisions that are informed by more clear and focused discussion by panel experts, said CDRH Director Jeffrey Shuren, M.D.

In the past, panel discussions have not always reflected a panels final vote on approvability. Now, instead of voting on the approvability of premarket approval applications, including conditions of approval, the panel will vote on the safety and effectiveness of a device and the devices risk versus its benefit.

By making this change in voting procedure, panel members will address key scientific issues during their discussions, which will be reflected in their votes, Shuren said. The change also will allow panel members to address issues related to their area of expertise instead of regulatory issues that may be unfamiliar to them.

In addition, panels will vote by ballot instead of by a show of hands. While the votes will be publicly tallied so that panel members can be identified by their vote, the ballot process allows each panel member to cast his or her vote without immediate influence by other votes.
There are many issues involved in the FDAs review of a medical device. Historically, the FDAs presentations to panels included comments on approvability. With the changes, the FDAs presentations will continue to include reviews of the agencys data analysis, but will no longer include comments on approvability.

Before the changes, the agency medical device reviewers presented a unified, consensus analysis of supporting data. Now, reviewers will present together with data and analysis, the range of scientific opinion in the group. This move will allow more in-depth discussion on safety and effectiveness and risk versus benefit of the device under consideration..

The FDA and CDRH will continue to evaluate panel procedures and make changes when necessary. A detailed description of changes to panel operations can be found here1.

Source: FDA Release News

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