Medical devices classification BY FDA
Medical Device Definition A medical device is defined within the Food Drug & Cosmetic Act as “…an instrument, apparatus, implement, machine, contrivance, implant, in vitro reagent, or other similar or related article, including a component part, or accessory which is: recognized in the official National Formulary, or the United States Pharmacopoeia, or any supplement to them, intended for use in the diagnosis of disease or other conditions, or in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, in man or other animals, or intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man or other animals, and which does not achieve any of it’s primary intended purposes through chemical action within or on the body of man or other animals and which is not dependent upon being metabolized for the achievement of any of its primary intended purposes.”
There are 3 FDA regulatory classifications of medical devices: Class I, Class II and Class III
Class I Medical Devices
A Class I medical device are those devices that have a low to moderate risk to the patient and/or user. Today, 47% of medical devices fall under this category and 95% of these are exempt from the regulatory process. If a device falls into a generic category of exempted Class I devices, a premarket notification application and FDA clearance is not required before marketing the device in the U.S. However, the manufacturer is required to register their establishment and list their generic product with FDA. Examples include enema kits, elastic bandages, manual stethoscopes, and bedpans.
Class II Medical Devices
Class II medical devices are those devices that have a moderate to high risk to the patient and/or user. 43% of medical devices fall under this category. Most medical devices are considered Class II devices. Examples of Class II devices include powered wheelchairs and some pregnancy test kits.
Class III Medical Devices
Class III medical devices are those devices that have a high risk to the patient and/or user. These devices usually sustain or support life, are implanted, or present potential unreasonable risk of illness or injury. They represent 10% of medical devices regulated by the FDA. Examples of Class III devices include implantable pacemakers and breast implants.