On September 2, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) announced a new “Health Apps” feature on the HHS.gov website. The new website, which replaces the OCR’s Health App Developer Portal, highlights existing guidance for mobile health (“mHealth”) apps regarding the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
On Friday, April 19, 2019, the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) explained in an FAQ the circumstances under which electronic health record (EHR) systems may be subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) liability for an app’s impermissible use or disclosure…
On January 3, 2019, the National Medical Products Administration (“NMPA”) published a draft standalone software appendix of medical device good manufacturing practice (“Draft Standalone Software GMP” or “Draft Appendix”) for public comment (available here). Comments are due on January 30, 2019.
China revised its medical device GMP in 2014, which apply to all classes of devices regardless of whether they are imported or made in China. Subsequently, NMPA added various appendices (fulu) to articulate special requirements for certain types of devices, including sterile, implantable, and in vitro diagnostic devices. The Draft Appendix sets out proposed special requirements for software that falls under the definition of medical device.
In China, the definition of a medical device covers software that either itself constitutes a device (i.e., standalone software) or is an accessory/component of a device (i.e., component software). The Draft Standalone Software GMP expressly applies to standalone software and it states that it applies, “by reference,” (mutatis mutandis) to component software. If finalized, the Draft Standalone Software GMP would be effective on an undetermined date in 2020.
The Draft Appendix is a relatively simple document with four main sections:
- scope and general principles of the Draft Appendix ;
- special requirements for various aspects of the manufacturing and post-market processes (see below);
- definitions of key terms; and
- miscellaneous provisions.
Key features of the Draft Standalone Software GMP include the following:…
Wearable watches that help consumers obtain a better understanding of their eating patterns; wearable clothes that send signals to treating physicians; smart watches: they are but a few examples of the increasingly available and increasingly sophisticated “wearables” on the EU market. These technologies are an integrated part of many people’s lives, and in some cases allow healthcare professionals to follow-up on the condition or habits of their patients, often in real-time. How do manufacturers determine what wearables qualify as medical devices? How do they assess whether their devices need a CE-mark? Must they differentiate between the actual “wearable” and the hardware or software that accompanies them? In this short contribution, we briefly analyze some of these questions. The article first examines what “wearables” are, and when they qualify as a medical device under current and future EU rules. It then addresses the relevance of the applicability of EU medical devices rules to these products. The application of these rules is often complex and highly fact-specific.
Continue Reading Are Wearables Medical Devices Requiring a CE-Mark in the EU?
As previewed by Commissioner Gottlieb several months ago (see our earlier post here), FDA published a notice in the Federal Register on November 20, 2018, to propose a new framework for “prescription drug-use-related software.” The Agency defines this digital health category widely as software disseminated by a prescription drug sponsor for use with the sponsor’s prescription drug(s). Last spring, the Commissioner stated that FDA would be seeking input “on how to support the development of digital health tools that are included as part of approved drugs.” The goal in establishing the framework, Gottlieb stated, would be “to develop an efficient pathway for the review and approval of digital health tools as part of drug review, so that these tools reach their full potential to help us treat illness and disease, and encourage synergies between software and therapeutics that meet FDA’s gold standard for safety and effectiveness.”
This policy development is significant, not only because it is one of CDER’s first policy statements on digital health associated with pharmaceuticals (see a few of our earlier posts about pharma-related digital health here and here), but also because it implicates a broad range of information that could be made available by prescription drug sponsors through software used with their products. We encourage prescription drug sponsors with any interest in providing digital health solutions, including through collaborations, to review the Federal Register notice and consider submitting comments to FDA.
Here are a few key takeaways from FDA’s notice:
- Under the proposed framework, software with the same drug-related functionalities will be subject to different regulatory approaches by FDA, depending on the developer of the software. FDA will apply the proposed framework to prescription drug-user-related software developed by or on behalf of pharmaceutical manufacturers, and a different approach to drug-related software developed “independently” by third-party software developers and other entities that are not prescription drug sponsors.
- It is unclear from the notice how the proposed framework, including the evidentiary standards described in the Federal Register notice, will align with other FDA initiatives such as the use of real-world evidence for drug development and the pre-certification program (see our earlier post here).
- An important question for prescription drug sponsors in particular is whether the proposed framework will encourage continued digital health innovation, including through collaborations, or whether FDA’s proposal will create challenges that may discourage advances in this area.
In light of the rapidly expanding field of medical software technology, and its recognition that traditional approval mechanisms for hardware-based medical devices may not be well suited to regulating such technology, FDA is piloting a new, streamlined regulatory approach for digital health technologies. The initiative, currently a “working model” and known as the Software Precertification…
Inflection Point for IoT
In a relatively short amount of time, the adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) and its applications— from smart cars to the myriad of interconnected sensors in the General Service Administration building reminiscent of HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey— has rapidly proliferated, providing significant opportunities and benefits. However,…
On February 1, 2018, Covington’s Digital Health team hosted a webinar examining U.S. and EU regulatory issues for digital health associated with pharmaceuticals. Here are some key takeaways from that webinar:
- Neela Paykel from Proteus Digital Health, noted that “you need to think outside the box for how to engage, whether you’re a pharma company
On December 8, FDA addressed the agency’s evolving approach to digital health by issuing two new draft guidance documents: “Clinical and Patient Decision Support Software” (the “CDS Draft Guidance”) and “Changes to Existing Medical Software Policies Resulting From Section 3060 of the 21st Century Cures Act” (the “Software Policies Draft Guidance”). These draft guidances announce the agency’s initial interpretation of the health software provisions enacted as part of last year’s 21st Century Cures Act (the “Cures Act”).
Given the rapid pace of digital health innovation across the life sciences, technology and health care sectors, FDA guidance on these topics is critical. Here are a few key takeaways from the draft guidances:
- FDA’s initial interpretation of the Cures Act provision related to clinical decision support (CDS) software may lead to a fairly narrow carve-out—in other words, many cutting-edge CDS software functions could remain subject to FDA regulation.
- FDA’s draft guidances do not directly address dynamic digital health solutions, such as those that incorporate machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), or blockchain.
- FDA has proposed an enforcement discretion approach for decision support software aimed at patients that generally parallels the regulatory approach for CDS software aimed at clinicians, even though patient decision software was not addressed directly in the Cures Act.
- Consistent with the Cures Act, FDA’s draft guidances reflect that many of the software functions that were previously subject to FDA enforcement discretion (i.e., not actively regulated as devices) no longer meet the definition of “device.”
- Significant for pharmaceutical companies, CDER joined one of the draft guidances, and that draft guidance makes clear that other FDA requirements may apply to digital health products disseminated by or on behalf of a drug sponsor beyond those outlined in the draft guidance.
FDA’s regulatory approach has a significant impact on the investment in and development of digital health solutions across the digital health ecosystem. Stakeholders should consider submitting comments to the agency to help shape the direction of FDA’s final guidances on these topics.…
On November 16, 2017, the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA” or the “Agency”) will hold a public hearing on a proposed approach for sponsors seeking to market devices referencing drugs (“DRDs”) when the drug sponsor does not wish to collaborate with the sponsor of the device. FDA will accept comments to the docket until January 15, 2018.
Continue Reading Pharmaceutical Digital Health Innovators Take Note: FDA Public Hearing on an Innovative Approach to Devices Referencing Drugs