FDA issues warning to all duodenoscope manufacturers


The Food and Drug Administration on March 9 issued warning letters to all three duodenoscope manufacturers for failing to comply with the requirements of federal law under which they were ordered to conduct postmarket surveillance studies to assess the effectiveness of reprocessing the devices.

The warning is part of an ongoing effort to prevent patient infections associated with the transmission of bacteria from contaminated duodenoscopes. The three manufacturers – Olympus, Fujifilm, and Pentax – are required to conduct studies to sample and culture reprocessed duodenoscopes that are in clinical use to learn more about issues that contribute to contamination, and to study human factors to determine how hospital staff who have had training are following the reprocessing instructions. In 2015, the FDA ordered the companies to conduct a postmarket surveillance study to determine whether health care facilities were able to properly clean and disinfect the devices.

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Currently, the Olympus manufacturer has failed to start data collection, while both Pentax and Fujifilm have failed to provide sufficient data required for their respective studies to sample and culture reprocessed duodenoscopes that are in clinical use. In addition, Olympus and Pentax have not complied with requirements to assess how well staff members have followed the reprocessing instructions after the human factors studies and Fujifilm has been meeting its requirements for its human factors study only.

“The FDA has taken important steps to improve the reprocessing of duodenoscopes, and we’ve seen a reduction in reports of patient infections, but we need the required postmarket studies to determine whether these measures are being properly implemented in real-world clinical settings and whether we need to take additional action to further improve the safety of these devices,” said Jeff Shuren, MD, director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health in a press release. “We expect these device manufacturers to meet their study obligations to ensure patient safety.”

The companies have until March 24 to submit a plan that outlines how study milestones will be achieved. If the companies fail to respond to the warning letter, the FDA states that they may take additional action, such as seizure, injunction, and civil monetary penalties.

Read the full press release on the FDA’s website.

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