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Accessory or Component and the FDA – The Fine Line Between Them

Accessory or Component and the FDA – The Fine Line Between Them

Determining if your product or innovation should be considered a component or an accessory is a critical early-life cycle inflection point. In fact, the distinction between the two terms has long been the subject of debate and interpretation. In August 2017, the FDA began a new effort to classify a “list of [medical device] accessories that the Agency believes are suitable for distinct classification into class I.”  However, this effort lead to even more questions and less understanding between the classification designations and the actual device. Let’s try to break this down to help with the clarification process: What does the FDA consider an accessory versus a component?An accessory is intended to support, supplement, and/or augment the performance of one or more devices, often called “parent devices”. It is considered a finished device—meaning it is ready for use or capable of functioning.A component (in 21CFR 820.3) is defined as “…any raw material, substance, piece, part, software, firmware, labeling or assembly which is intended to be included as part of the finished, packaged and labeled device.” In other words, it would serve no direct medical purpose by itself, in the form that you deliver, and you are not selling directly to patients/end users/health care providers.21CFR 807.65(a) explicitly exempts “a manufacturer of raw materials or components to be used in the manufacture or assembly of a device…”  This means the parts or sub-components that go into make a device are exempt from Registration. The creator of the final device bears the burden of Registration. Let’s talk about some possible scenarios where this designation is important. Company A makes sensors that are incorporated into a finished blood...