The QS regulation embraces the same “umbrella” approach to the CGMP regulation that was the underpinning of the original CGMP regulation. Because the regulation must apply to so many different types of devices, the regulation does not prescribe in detail how a manufacturer must produce a specific device. Rather, the regulation provides the framework that all manufacturers must follow by requiring that manufacturers develop and follow procedures and fill in the details that are appropriate to a given device according to the current state-of-the-art manufacturing for that specific device.
The QS regulation applies to finished device manufacturers who intend to commercially distribute medical devices. A finished device is defined in 21 CFR 820.3(l) as any device or accessory to any device that is suitable for use or capable of functioning, whether or not it is packaged, labeled, or sterilized.
Certain components such as blood tubing and diagnostic x-ray components are considered by FDA to be finished devices because they are accessories to finished devices. A manufacturer of accessories is subject to the QS regulation.
The FDA has determined that certain types of medical devices are exempt from GMP requirements. These devices are exempted by FDA classification regulations published in the Federal Register and codified in 21 CFR 862 to 892. Exemption from the GMP requirements does not exempt manufacturers of finished devices from keeping complaint files (21 CFR 820.198) or from general requirements concerning records (21 CFR 820.180).
Medical devices manufactured under an investigational device exemption (IDE) are not exempt from design control requirements under 21 CFR 820.30 of the QS regulation.
Manufacturers must establish and follow quality systems to help ensure that their products consistently meet applicable requirements and specifications. The quality systems for FDA-regulated products (food, drugs, biologics, and devices) are known as current good manufacturing practices (CGMP’s). CGMP requirements for devices in part 820 (21 CFR part 820) were first authorized by section 520(f) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act). Under section 520(f) of the Act, FDA issued a final rule in the Federal Register of July 21, 1978 (43 FR 31 508), prescribing CGMP requirements for medical devices. This regulation became effective on December 18, 1978, and was codified under part 820.