FDA-regulated industries electronic signatures and other records are considered authentic. From 2007, a strong body of opinion has emerged challenging the stringency of these requirements, but nothing major has been diluted from these.
The regulations under FDA 21 CFR Part 11 Compliance set out criteria that the Food and Drug Agency (FDA) considers in order to deem electronic signatures authentic. The electronic records, electronic signatures, and handwritten signatures executed to electronic records of several FDA 21 CFR Part 11 Compliance sets out benchmarks by which FDA-regulated industries have to be compliant with the standards set out in FDA 21 CFR Part 11 Compliance to prove that these are authentic, safe and trustworthy. The operative factor is that the FDA has to consider these signatures as being on par with those done on paper.
Which industries are included in FDA 21 CFR Part 11 Compliance?
FDA 21 CFR Part 11 Compliance applies to nearly all FDA-regulated industries, including but not restricted to:
- Medical device manufacturers
- Drug makers
- Biotech companies, and
- Biologics developers
The Aim of FDA 21 CFR Part 11 Compliance
The aim of FDA 21 CFR Part 11 Compliance is to ensure that specified FDA-regulated industries such as those mentioned above (with specific exceptions) implement controls -which could include audits, audit trails, documentation, system validations, and electronic signatures -for software and systems involved in processing electronic data that are:
- Required to be maintained by the FDA predicate rules or
- Used to demonstrate compliance to a predicate rule. The FDA describes a predicate rule as any requirement set forth in the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, the Public Health Service Act, or any FDA regulation other than Part 11. FDA 21 CFR Part 11 Compliance also applies to submissions made to the FDA in electronic format, such as a new drug application.
Which industries are exempt from FDA 21 CFR Part 11 Compliance?
Interestingly, exceptions are allowed within the same industry, based on the format of filing. For example, while FDA 21 CFR Part 11 Compliance applies to submissions made to the FDA in electronic format; it does not apply to a paper submission for the same made in electronic format, such as fax.
Also, FDA 21 CFR Part 11 compliance is not required for record retention for trace backs by food manufacturers. Similar to the logic used in the mode of filing as noted above; most food manufacturers are not otherwise explicitly required to keep detailed records, but when organizations keep electronic documentation for HACCP and similar requirements; this documentation must meet these requirements.
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