February 13, 2024

FDA Compliance and Audits in Medical Device Contract Manufacturing

In the dynamic and highly regulated landscape of medical device manufacturing, adherence to quality standards and regulatory compliance is paramount. One crucial aspect of this compliance journey is navigating the regulations set forth by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This blog aims to shed light on FDA compliance and audits in the context of medical device contract manufacturing.

Understanding FDA Compliance:

The FDA plays a pivotal role in ensuring the safety and efficacy of medical devices in the market. Medical device contract manufacturers must comply with the Quality System Regulation (QSR), also known as 21 CFR Part 820, which outlines the current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) for medical devices.

Key Components of FDA Compliance in Contract Manufacturing:

  1. Quality Management Systems (QMS):

  • Implementing an effective QMS is foundational to FDA compliance. This involves establishing processes and procedures for design, production, testing, and post-market surveillance.

  • Document control and recordkeeping are crucial components, ensuring accountability at every stage of the manufacturing process.

  1. Device Design and Development:

  • Contract manufacturers must follow a systematic design control process to ensure that medical devices meet specified requirements.

  • Risk management is an integral part, identifying and mitigating potential risks associated with device design and development.

  1. Supplier Management:

  • FDA compliance extends to the management of suppliers and subcontractors. Manufacturers must ensure that their suppliers meet the same rigorous standards set by the FDA.

  • Regular audits of suppliers are essential to verify compliance and address any identified issues promptly.

  1. Production and Process Controls:

  • Adhering to cGMP involves maintaining control over the production process. This includes establishing and validating manufacturing processes, ensuring proper equipment calibration, and implementing measures for contamination control.

  • In-process and final product testing are critical to guarantee the quality of the medical devices.

FDA Audits in Medical Device Contract Manufacturing:

  1. Preparation for Audits:

  • Contract manufacturers should proactively prepare for FDA audits by conducting internal audits and mock inspections.

  • Ensuring that all documentation is in order, including design history files, production records, and quality records, is vital for a smooth audit process.

  1. Auditing Frequency:

  • The FDA conducts routine inspections to verify compliance with regulatory requirements. Contract manufacturers may also face unannounced audits.

  • Being consistently prepared for audits is a proactive approach to compliance, reducing the risk of findings and ensuring ongoing FDA approval.

  1. Addressing Audit Findings:

  • In the event of audit findings, prompt corrective and preventive actions (CAPA) must be implemented. This involves identifying the root cause of the non-compliance and implementing measures to prevent recurrence.

A Reputable Contract Manufacturer Should be able to Answer these questions

  1. Ask to see their quality manual and quality procedures.
    Any compliant contract manufacturer will have their quality management policies documented in a quality manual as well as procedures for enforcing those policies. Review their manual and procedures to see if they meet medical device regulations.

  2. What are the contents of their DHF, DMR and DHRs?
    These documents are critical for remaining in medical device compliance with FDA regulations. Being aware of the general contents of each will allow you to determine whether your contract manufacturer is adhering to the proper procedures. Since the actual documents for each customer are confidential, they will only be able to share general guidelines on what information they maintain.

  3. Do they conduct process validations? How many steps are involved in their validation processes? Ask them to describe each step and provide one or two examples of their validation procedures. 

    The results of process validation are based on medical device regulations. Solid procedures should allow you to gain confidence in their facility’s compliance.

  4. Ask about their risk management approach.
    Your contract manufacturer should have adopted some risk management method.

  5. Are they familiar with CAPA? If so, what method do they use to analyze a non-conforming event?
    CAPA refers to corrective and preventive action, and establishing a CAPA process is required by the FDA. When a non-conforming event occurs, such as a faulty medical device, manufacturers should start their pre-determined CAPA process to determine the root cause and address the problem.

  6. Have they passed an FDA audit? If so, how many nonconformities resulted?
    Since the FDA conducts random routine audits, not all manufacturers will have been audited.

Navigating FDA compliance and audits in medical device contract manufacturing requires a proactive and comprehensive approach. By establishing robust quality management systems, adhering to cGMP, and being prepared for routine and unannounced audits, manufacturers can ensure the production of safe and effective medical devices that meet the stringent standards set by the FDA. Continuous improvement and a commitment to regulatory compliance are key pillars in the ever-evolving landscape of medical device manufacturing.

Sanbor Medical built our first ISO Quality System in 1998 and were certified as meeting ISO 9002 standards in 1999. In 2005, we became TUV Certified having met ISO 13485 standards and became FDA Registered. We are currently UL certified to ISO-13485:2016 standards and our quality system is QSR compliant and fully adheres to the 21 CFR Part 820 regulations. We are rigorously audited by leading global medical device companies on a routine basis. To learn more about our medical manufacturing capabilities, contact us today.

Subscribe to email updates

Smarter Manufacturing Starts Here.

Connect with our team to learn how a Sanbor partnership is the future of medical device contract manufacturing.

Connect With Us