In keeping with its mandate to provide the least burdensome means of product regulation, the US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Center for Devices and Radiological Health uses many different standards to facilitate the review of premarket submissions of medical devices. The benefits of using standards in this manner include providing a set of common requirements and test protocols to the device manufacturer, thus reducing the manufacturer's need to "reinvent the wheel" for each new bench test to ensure safety and effectiveness of the device. With the current trend toward international harmonization of standards, tests performed in accordance with an international standard may be acceptable to several countries. However, there are instances in which the FDA does not agree with certain provisions in a standard. This article aims to clarify the approaches taken by the FDA to balance or resolve issues that arise when there is disagreement regarding the acceptability of a particular standard. One approach begins with the recognition of only some provisions of a standard, or more commonly, excluding those parts of a standard that are unacceptable to the FDA for regulatory or scientific validity reasons. Other approaches include working with the standards development organizations to revise the standard to include language more agreeable to all parties involved. Specific examples will be presented on medical devices, Such as electrocardiogram cables and connectors, and noninvasive blood pressure monitors. (c) 2005 Published by Elsevier Inc.
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