“Both GAO and FDA, however, have identified shortcomings in FDA’s postmarket oversight. For example, in 2006 FDA reported that the agency’s ability to understand the risks related to the use of medical devices is limited by the fact that the volume of submitted reports exceeded FDA’s ability to consistently enter or review the reports in a routine manner. In 2008, FDA officials told us that while they have a number of strategies to prioritize their reviews of adverse event reports, they still cannot review all the reports they receive. Finally, GAO has found that FDA has not conducted required inspections of manufacturing establishments, another key FDA responsibility for medical devices marketed in the United States. In 2008, GAO reported that FDA has not met a statutory requirement to inspect certain domestic manufacturing establishments every 2 years. Instead, FDA officials estimated that the agency has inspected domestic establishments every 3 years (for class III devices) or 5 years (for class II devices). There is no comparable requirement to inspect foreign establishments, and FDA officials estimate that they have been inspected every 6 years (for class III devices) or 27 years (for class II devices).”

http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-370T

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