The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently launched a website1 that will now make it easier to report allegations of medical device manufacturer misconduct to the agency.2 Misconduct reports were historically submitted electronically (e.g., by email) or by letter. As many reporters wished to maintain anonymity, third parties (e.g., law firms) were often engaged to submit these reports. And once a third-party report was submitted, it was difficult to determine if the FDA commenced an investigation until an enforcement action was made public
The FDA’s new website and simplified reporting form are intended to lower barriers to reporting alleged medical device regulatory violations, to streamline the reporting process, and to provide an avenue to track resulting outcomes.3 For example, a report may still be made anonymously4 by filling out and submitting the FDA’s Allegations of Regulatory Misconduct Form. Having a form that can be directly submitted to FDA via the web streamlines the reporting process. Also, as is currently the process, the reporter will receive a letter that acknowledges report submission and provides a tracking number. The tracking number can be used—in conjunction with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests—to determine the outcome of the FDA’s investigation resulting from the report. Again, whether the agency actually commences an investigation is not made public
The FDA requests reporters to submit sufficient information to allow the agency to make a detailed investigation of the allegation (including supporting documentation when necessary). Also, only medical device regulatory violation matters qualify for reporting through the FDA’s new form. Reports associated with FDA-regulated drugs, biologics, dietary supplements, and cosmetics should be made to other departments of the FDA.