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Global Harmonization Task Force, Study Group 4; Final Document; Availability

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Food and Drug Administration, HHS.




The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing the availability of a final document that has been prepared by Study Group 4 of the Global Harmonization Task Force (GHTF). This document represents a harmonized proposal and recommendation from Study Group 4 of the GHTF that may be used by governments developing and updating their regulatory requirements for medical devices. This document is intended to provide information only and does not describe current regulatory requirements; elements of this document may not be consistent with current U.S. regulatory requirements.


Submit written or electronic comments on this guidance at any time. General comments on agency guidance documents are welcome at any time.


Submit written requests for single copies of the guidance document to the Division of Small Manufacturers, International, and Consumer Assistance (HFZ-220), Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Food and Drug Administration, 1350 Piccard Dr., Rockville, MD 20850. Send one self-addressed adhesive label to assist that office in processing your request, or fax your request to 240-276-3151. See the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for information on electronic access to the guidance. Submit written comments concerning this document to the Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852. Submit electronic comments to Identify comments with the docket number found in brackets in the heading of this document.

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Jan Welch, GHTF, Study Group 4, Office of Compliance, Center for Devices and Radiological Health (HFZ-320), Food Start Printed Page 15760and Drug Administration, 2094 Gaither Rd., Rockville, MD 20850, 240-276-0115.

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I.- Background

FDA has participated in a number of activities to promote the international harmonization of regulatory requirements. In September 1992, a meeting was held in Nice, France by senior regulatory officials to evaluate international harmonization. This meeting led to the development of the organization now known as the Global Harmonization Task Force (GHTF) to facilitate harmonization. Subsequent meetings have been held on a yearly basis in various locations throughout the world.

The GHTF is a voluntary group of representatives from national medical device regulatory authorities and the regulated industry. Since its inception, the GHTF has been comprised of representatives from five founding members grouped into three geographical areas: Europe, Asia-Pacific, and North America, each of which actively regulates medical devices using their own unique regulatory framework.

The objective of the GHTF is to encourage convergence at the global level of regulatory systems of medical devices to facilitate trade while preserving the right of participating members to address the protection of public health by regulatory means considered most suitable. One of the ways this objective is achieved is by identifying and developing areas of international cooperation to facilitate progressive reduction of technical and regulatory differences in systems established to regulate medical devices. In an effort to accomplish these objectives, the GHTF formed five study groups to draft documents and carry on other activities designed to facilitate global harmonization. This notice is a result of a document that has been developed by one of the Study Groups (4).

Study Group 4 was initially tasked with the responsibility of developing guidance documents on quality systems auditing practices. As a result of its efforts, this group has developed document SG4/N33R16:2007. The final document (SG4/N33R16:2007) entitled “Guidelines for Regulatory Auditing of Quality Management Systems of Medical Device Manufacturers—Part 3: Regulatory Audit Reports” provides a structure for audit reports used in multiple jurisdictions, promoting consistency and uniformity and should assist the auditor in preparing a report for use by multiple regulators and/or auditing organizations. Having reports that are consistent in content should facilitate the review and exchange of audit reports. Acceptance of audit reports by multiple regulators should eventually reduce the number of audits for manufacturers. This document was announced as available for comment on February 6, 2007 (72 FR 5443). GHTF received several comments on the document proposed on February 6, 2007. In response to the comments, GHTF made changes to clarify the document.

II.- Significance of Guidance

This document represents recommendations from the GHTF study groups and does not describe regulatory requirements. FDA is making this document available so that industry and other members of the public may express their views and opinions.

III. Electronic Access

Persons interested in obtaining a copy of the guidance may do so by using the Internet. The Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) maintains an entry on the Internet for easy access to information including text, graphics, and files that may be downloaded to a personal computer with Internet access. Updated on a regular basis, the CDRH home page includes device safety alerts, Federal Register reprints, information on premarket submissions (including lists of approved applications and manufacturers' addresses), small manufacturer's assistance, information on video conferencing and electronic submissions, Mammography Matters, and other device-oriented information. Information on the GHTF may be accessed at The CDRH Web site may be accessed at​cdrh.

IV. Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

For this final document, FDA concludes that there are no collection of information requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

V. Comments

Interested persons may submit to the Division of Dockets Management (see ADDRESSES), written or electronic comments regarding this document. Submit a single copy of electronic comments or two paper copies of any mailed comments, except that individuals may submit one paper copy. Comments are to be identified with the docket number found in brackets in the heading of this document. Received comments may be seen in the Division of Dockets Management between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Please note that on January 15, 2008, the FDA Web site transitioned to the Federal Dockets Management System (FDMS). FDMS is a Government-wide, electronic docket management system. Electronic submissions will be accepted by FDA through FDMS only.

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Dated: March 14, 2008.

Jeffrey Shuren,

Assistant Commissioner for Policy.

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[FR Doc. E8-5927 Filed 3-24-08; 8:45 am]