On October 5, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) published a final rule to establish requirements for the medical device De Novo classification process under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
The final rule, which takes effect January 3, 2022, comes nearly three years after the FDA first proposed it and, notably, sets forth the procedures and criteria for a manufacturer’s voluntary submission and withdrawal of a De Novo request. Additionally, the rule clarifies how agency staff intends to accept and review the requests, as well as how FDA staff will determine whether to grant or decline the requests. Finally, the rule also provides a way for combination products to use the De Novo pathway.
Useful for novel, low risk medical devices
The implementation of the De Novo classification process is especially significant for manufacturers of novel, low-risk medical devices. Prior to the De Novo program, which was created in 1997, any device that lacked a predicate automatically became designated as a Class III device and, therefore, required premarket approval to legally reach the market. Because this premarket pathway is designed to regulate the riskiest category of devices, manufacturers typically had to endure longer than anticipated wait times for approval of their low-risk devices.