Medical Devices

Is The Product A Medical Device?

Introduction

Determine if your product meets the Definition of a device. If it does, there are FDA requirements that apply. First, see the definition below.

Medical Device Definition

Medical devices range from simple tongue depressors and bedpans to complex programmable pacemakers with micro-chip technology and laser surgical devices. In addition, medical devices include in vitro diagnostic products, such as general purpose lab equipment, reagents, and test kits, which may include monoclonal antibody technology. Certain electronic radiation emitting products with medical application and claims meet the definition of medical device. Examples include diagnostic ultrasound products, x-ray machines and medical lasers. If a product is labeled, promoted or used in a manner that meets the following definition in section 201(h) of the Federal Food Drug & Cosmetic (FD&C) Act it will be regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a medical device and is subject to premarketing and postmarketing regulatory controls. A device is:

  • "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 its 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."

This definition provides a clear distinction between a medical device and other FDA regulated products such as drugs. If the primary intended use of the product is achieved through chemical action or by being metabolized by the body, the product is usually a drug. Human drugs are regulated by FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER). Biological products which include blood and blood products, and blood banking equipment are regulated by FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER). FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) regulates products used with animals. If your product is not a medical device but regulated by another Center in the FDA, each component of the FDA has an office to assist with questions about the products they regulate. In cases where it is not clear whether a product is a medical device there are procedures in place to use DICE Staff Directory to assist you in making a determination.

Page Last Updated: 09/12/2014
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