FDA to Shift Clinical Evidence for Medical Devices Toward Postmarket

Advances in technology and data collection can help regulators and other parties keep better track of the safety and performance of medical devices once they are on the market, opening the door to potentially faster product development. […]

This focus on faster, less expensive product development coincides with a move by the U.S. Senate to create a “breakthrough pathway” for FDA approval of medical devices. The Advancing Breakthrough Devices for Patients Act of 2015 would allow shorter or smaller clinical studies and quicker measures of success to serve as sufficient premarket evidence for the approval of devices with the potential to “reduce or eliminate the need for hospitalization, improve patient quality of life, facilitate patients’ ability to manage their own care (such as through self-directed personal assistance), or establish long-term clinical efficiencies.”

Following approval by a bipartisan Senate committee, some medical-device safety experts have expressed concern that the bill “sets a low bar to qualify for ‘breakthrough’ status’” and “lowers standards for safety and effectiveness,” as articulated by Diana Zuckerman, president of the National Center for Health Research (NCHR) in Washington, a medical research and advocacy group, in The Wall Street Journal.

“We are concerned that the focus of these bills is on getting medical products to market more quickly, instead of making sure that they are safe and effective,” NCHR and 13 other medical safety groups wrote in a letter to the members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. […]

The FDA’s goal is to gain access to 25 million electronic patient records from national and international clinical registries, claims data, and EHRs by the end of 2016. It is also aiming to increase the number of pre- and postmarket decisions that leverage real-world evidence by 40% during that same timeframe.

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