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International Medical Device Regulators Forum (IMDRF)

Update: June 27, 2024 – The FDA, as the Chair and Secretariat of the International Medical Device Regulators Forum (IMDRF) in 2024, is hosting the 26th session of IMDRF starting September 16. The meetings on September 16-17 are free events open to the public — including regulators, industry, academia, and media — who are invited to attend in-person or virtually. Please note that space is limited for in-person attendance. To attend, register online before August 26, 2024.

The International Medical Device Regulators Forum (IMDRF) is a group of medical device regulators from around the world that have voluntarily come together to harmonize the regulatory requirements for medical products that vary from country to country.

The current IMDRF members represent medical device regulatory authorities in:

The World Health Organization (WHO), Argentina, and Switzerland are Official Observers. The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Life Sciences Innovation Forum's (LSIF) Regulatory Harmonization Steering Committee, the Global Harmonization Working Party (GHWP), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), and the African Medical Devices Forum (AMDF) are Regional Harmonization Initiatives  with IMDRF. IMDRF Affiliate Members include medical device regulatory authorities from Chile, Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Egypt, Israel, Montenegro, and South Africa. 

As the U.S. member, the FDA actively participates in the IMDRF management committee as well as on IMDRF working groups including:

  • Adverse Event Terminology,
  • Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning-Enabled,
  • Good Regulatory Review Practices,
  • Personalized Medical Devices,
  • Quality Management Systems (QMS), 
  • Regulated Product Submission, and 
  • Software as a Medical Device (SaMD).

IMDRF develops internationally agreed-upon documents related to a wide variety of topics affecting medical devices. Draft IMDRF documents are available for public review and comment for a period of 60-90 days. IMDRF Management Committee members, observers, affiliate members, regional harmonization initiatives and affiliate organizations will often solicit feedback from their stakeholders on these draft documents. In some cases—such as when the IMDRF document conveys guidance—the FDA may also solicit feedback on the draft IMDRF documents by publishing a notice of availability of the guidance for public comment in the Federal Register.

When finalized, IMDRF members adopt these documents where appropriate, and in some cases adapt them to meet the regulatory requirements of their jurisdictions. Because IMDRF documents vary in nature, from standard operating procedures (SOPs) and terminology to policy documents, FDA adoption of these documents will differ depending on the type of document. For example, the FDA may adopt an IMDRF document that describes policies as an FDA guidance document, when the document meets the definition of an FDA guidance document (per 21 CFR 10.115). Since the policies and concepts within IMDRF documents are often broad, FDA may also issue additional guidance documents or update existing guidance documents to include information regarding the adoption and implementation of the policies and concepts in IMDRF documents within the FDA’s regulatory framework.

For other non-guidance IMDRF documents, such as SOPs or terminology, the FDA may adopt these documents by incorporating them into existing medical device regulatory practices. The FDA committed to assess the extent of CDRH implementation of IMDRF documents and report this information publicly as part of the Medical Device User Fee Amendments of 2022 (MDUFA V).  The FDA will work collaboratively with industry and other members of the medical device ecosystem to implement these harmonized documents and help assure that safe and effective medical devices are available to patients in the U.S. and globally.

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