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Dealing with medical device reporting and recalls

Medical device reporting and recalls have enormous benefits for the medical device company and the public if implemented properly. They can prevent use of defective devices and can be an important inoculation against stringent FDA actions.

Medical device reporting and recalls are a major FDA activity. Medical device companies have clear instructions on how to initiate medical device reporting (MDR) and recalls.

What is medical device reporting?

Procedures for medical device reporting are governed by 21 CFR 803, which has details regarding how a medical device company should go about its MDR.

Who have to make MDR?

The FDA deems it mandatory for these entities to report certain types of adverse events and product problems:


For the following entities, MDR is voluntary and is to be done when serious adverse events are detected in the medical devices they use:

  • Professionals
  • Patients
  • Caregivers, and
  • Consumers

These categories can also report issues relating to product quality, therapeutic errors and use errors.

What is a recall?

A recall can be either of these:

  • When a firm voluntarily removes or corrects an already marketed device that is found by the FDA to be in violation of its governing act on these devices, namely the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Seizure of a medical device is an example of this kind of action.
  • A recall also happens when a firm voluntarily determines, after investigation, that a device is adulterated in some way. An example of this instance is misbranding, when a manufacturer discovers that the device is not fulfilling its intended use.

A recall is important for two reasons:


How does a medical device company report a recall?

Firms have to follow 21 CFR Part 806 when they have to reporting Medical Devices Recalls, as set out by The Center for Devices and Radiological Health. The Center makes it a requirement for a firm to report when the medical device is posing a risk to health. This has to be reported to the FDA District Office in which the firm is located.

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