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Rule

Medical Devices; Ear, Nose, and Throat Devices; Classification of the Transcutaneous Air Conduction Hearing Aid System

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is classifying the transcutaneous air conduction hearing aid system (TACHAS) into class II (special controls). Elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register, FDA is announcing the availability of a guidance document that will serve as the special control for the device. The agency is taking this action in response to a petition submitted under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the act) as amended by the Medical Device Amendments of 1976 (the amendments), the Safe Medical Devices Act of 1990, and the Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act of 1997 (FDAMA). The agency is classifying this device into class II (special controls) in order to provide a reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness of the device.

DATES:

This rule is effective November 7, 2002.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Eric Mann, Center for Devices and Radiological Health (HFZ-460), Food and Drug Administration, 9200 Corporate Blvd., Rockville, MD 20850, 301-594-2080.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

In accordance with section 513(f)(1) of the act (21 U.S.C. 360c(f)(1)), devices that were not in commercial distribution before May 28, 1976, the date of enactment of the amendments, generally referred to as postamendments devices, are classified automatically by statute into class III without any FDA rulemaking process. These devices remain in class III and require premarket approval, unless and until the device is classified or reclassified into class I or II or FDA issues an order finding the device to be substantially equivalent, in accordance with section 513(i) of the act, to a predicate device that does not require premarket approval. The agency determines whether new devices are substantially equivalent to previously marketed devices by means of premarket notification procedures in section 510(k) of the act (21 U.S.C. 360(k)) and 21 CFR part 807 of the FDA regulations. Section 513(f)(2) of the act provides that any person who submits a premarket notification under section 510(k) of the act for a device that has not previously been classified may, within 30 days after receiving an order classifying the device in class III under section 513(f)(1) of the act, request FDA to classify the device under the criteria set forth in section 513(a)(1) of the act. FDA shall, within 60 days of receiving such a request, classify the device by written order. This classification shall be the initial classification of the device. Within 30 days after issuing an order classifying the device, FDA must publish a document in the Federal Register announcing the classification.

On June 21, 2002, FDA received a petition submitted under section 513(f)(2) of the act by Auric Hearing Systems Inc., seeking an evaluation of the automatic class III designation of its RetroX device. This device is intended to compensate for impaired hearing without occluding the ear canal. In accordance with section 513(f)(1) of the act, FDA issued an order automatically classifying the RetroX device in class III because it was not substantially equivalent to a device that was introduced or delivered for introduction into interstate commerce for commercial distribution before May 28, 1976, or a device that was subsequently reclassified into class I or II. After reviewing information submitted in the petition, FDA determined that the RetroX device and substantially equivalent devices can be classified in class II with the establishment of special controls. FDA believes that class II special controls, in addition to the general controls, will provide reasonable assurance of the safety and effectiveness of the device.

FDA has identified the following risks to health associated specifically with this type of device: (1) Infection /local inflammation, (2) injury to the ear canal, and (3) ineffective amplification.

Therefore, in addition to the general controls of the act, the device is subject to a special control guidance document entitled “Class II Special Controls Guidance Document: Transcutaneous Air Conduction Hearing Aid System (TACHAS); Guidance for Industry and FDA.”

FDA believes the following controls identified in the class II special controls guidance document for a TACHAS device, when combined with the general controls of the act, will provide reasonable assurance of the safety and effectiveness of this type device: (1) Electro-acoustic testing, (2) fatigue testing, (3) strength test validation, (4) biocompatibility, (5) sterility, (6) clinical information, and (7) labeling to include prescription labeling in accordance with 21 CFR 801.109.

FDA believes that adherence to the class II special controls addresses the risks to health identified previously in this section of this document and provides a reasonable assurance of the safety and effectiveness of the device.

Section 510(m) of the act provides that FDA may exempt a class II device from the premarket notification requirement under section 510(k) of the act, if FDA determines that premarket notification is not necessary to provide reasonable assurance of the safety and effectiveness of the device. For this type of device, FDA has determined that premarket notification is necessary to provide reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness and, therefore, the device is not exempt from the premarket notification requirements. The device is used as a wearable sound-amplifying device intended to compensate for impaired hearing without occluding the ear canal. FDA review of key design Start Printed Page 67790features, data sets from bench studies and clinical trials, other relevant performance data, and labeling will ensure that acceptable levels of performance for both safety and effectiveness are addressed before marketing clearance. Thus, persons who intend to market this device type must submit to FDA a premarket notification submission containing information on the TACHAS they intend to market prior to marketing the device.

On August 20, 2002, FDA issued an order classifying the RetroX device and substantially equivalent devices of this generic type into class II under the generic name, transcutaneous air conduction hearing aid system. FDA identifies this generic type of device as:

A wearable sound-amplifying device intended to compensate for impaired hearing without occluding the ear canal. The device consists of an air conduction hearing aid attached to a surgically fitted tube system, which is placed through soft tissue between the post auricular region and the outer ear canal.

The order also identifies a special control applicable to this device a guidance document entitled “Class II Special Controls Guidance Document: Transcutaneous Air Conduction Hearing Aid System (TACHAS); Guidance for Industry and FDA.” Any firm submitting a 510(k) premarket notification for the device would need to address the issues covered in the special control guidance. However, the firm would need to show only that its device meets the recommendations of the guidance or in some other way provides equivalent assurances of safety and effectiveness.

FDA is now codifying the classification and the special control by adding new § 874.3950. For the convenience of the reader, FDA is also adding a new § 874.1(e) to inform the reader where to find guidance documents referenced in 21 CFR part 874.

II. Environmental Impact

The agency has determined under 21 CFR 25.34(b) that this action is of a type that does not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. Therefore, neither an environmental assessment nor an environmental impact statement is required.

III. Analysis of Impacts

FDA has examined the impacts of the final rule under Executive Order 12866, and the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), and the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Public Law 104-4). Executive Order 12866 directs agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, when regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety, and other advantages; distributive impacts; and equity). The agency believes that this final rule is consistent with the regulatory philosophy and principles identified in the Executive order. In addition, the final rule is not a significant regulatory action as defined by the Executive order and so it is not subject to review under the Executive order.

The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires agencies to analyze regulatory options that would minimize any significant impact of a rule on small entities. FDA knows of only one manufacturer of this type of device. Classification of these devices from class III to class II will relieve manufacturers of the device of the cost of complying with the premarket approval requirements of section 515 of the act (21 U.S.C. 360e), and may permit small potential competitors to enter the marketplace by lowering their costs. The agency, therefore, certifies that the final rule will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. In addition, this final rule will not impose costs of $100 million or more on either the private sector or State, local, and tribal governments in the aggregate and, therefore, a summary statement of analysis under section 202(a) of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act is not required.

IV. Federalism

FDA has analyzed this final rule in accordance with the principles set forth in Executive Order 13132. FDA has determined that the rule does not contain policies that have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the National Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. Accordingly, the agency has concluded that the rule does not contain policies that have federalism implications as defined in the order and, consequently, a federalism summary impact statement is not required.

V. Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

This final rule contains no collections of information. Therefore, clearance by the Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 is not required.

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List of Subjects in 21 CFR Part 874

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Therefore, under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and under authority delegated to the Commissioner of Food and Drugs,

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PART 874—EAR, NOSE, AND THROAT DEVICES

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1. The authority citation for

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Authority: 21 U.S.C. 351, 360, 360c, 360e, 360j, 371.

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2. Section 874.1 is amended by adding paragraph (e) to read as follows:

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Scope.
* * * * *

(e) Guidance documents referenced in this part are available on the Internet at http://www.fda.gov/​cdrh/​guidance.html

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3. Section 874.3950 is added to subpart D to read as follows:

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Transcutaneous air conduction hearing aid system.

(a) Identification. A transcutaneous air conduction hearing aid system is a wearable sound-amplifying device intended to compensate for impaired hearing without occluding the ear canal. The device consists of an air conduction hearing aid attached to a surgically fitted tube system, which is placed through soft tissue between the post auricular region and the outer ear canal.

(b) Classification. Class II (special controls). The special control for this device is FDA's guidance document entitled “Class II Special Controls Guidance Document: Transcutaneous Air Conduction Hearing Aid System (TACHAS); Guidance for Industry and FDA.” See § 874.1 for the availability of this guidance document.

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Dated: October 28, 2002.

Linda S. Kahan,

Deputy Director, Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

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[FR Doc. 02-28398 Filed 11-6-02; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4160-01-S