Guidance for Industry and Food and Drug Administration Staff

Submission and Review of Sterility Information in Premarket Notification (510(k)) Submissions for Devices Labeled as Sterile

Document issued on January 21, 2016

This guidance document updates and clarifies the information regarding sterilization processes that we recommend sponsors include in 510(k)s for devices labeled as sterile.

This guidance document also provides details about the pyrogenicity information that we recommend sponsors include in a 510(k) submission. For the current edition of the FDA-recognized standards referenced in this document, see the FDA Recognized Consensus Standards Database Web site at

In recent years, FDA has received an increasing number of 510(k)s for devices labeled as sterile that use sterilization methods other than the traditionally used methods of steam, dry heat, ethylene oxide (EO), and radiation. FDA has experience with other methods, such as hydrogen peroxide, ozone and flexible bag systems, and now considers them to be established methods. However, it has been recognized that there may be alterations to the more recently developed methods, as well as original, innovative sterilization technologies, which are being developed and proposed for use in the manufacture of class I and class II devices. FDA considers these to be novel methods. (The terms established and novel are defined in Section IV below.)

Under section 513(f)(5) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the act), FDA may not withhold 510(k) clearance for failure to comply with any provision of the act unrelated to a substantial equivalence decision, including failure to comply with Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), unless FDA finds that there is a substantial likelihood that failure to comply with the provision “will potentially present a serious risk to human health.” We believe that novel sterilization technologies carry a substantial risk of inadequate sterility assurance if not conducted properly. Consequently, compliance with GMP for devices sterilized using these technologies should be closely evaluated. Failure to assure sterility presents a serious risk to human health because of the risk of infection. Therefore, we intend to inspect the manufacturing facility before clearing a 510(k) for a device that is sterilized by a novel sterilization process. Inspecting the manufacturing facility for devices sterilized using these sterilization technologies will help ensure the safety and effectiveness of these devices and mitigate the risks to human health.

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Last Updated: 2016-04-26

510K Submission and Review of Sterility Information
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