Title 21 Part 820

Manufacturers must establish and follow quality systems to help ensure that their products consistently meet applicable requirements and specifications. The quality systems for FDA-regulated products (food, drugs, biologics, and devices) are known as current good manufacturing practices (CGMP’s). CGMP requirements for devices in part 820 (21 CFR part 820) were first authorized by section 520(f) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the act).  Under section 520(f) of the act, FDA issued a final rule in the Federal Register of July 21, 1978 (43 FR 31 508), prescribing CGMP requirements for medical devices. This regulation became effective on December 18, 1978, and was codified under part 820.

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Flexibility of the QS Regulation

The QS regulation embraces the same "umbrella'' approach to the CGMP regulation that was the underpinning of the original CGMP regulation. Because the regulation must apply to so many different types of devices, the regulation does not prescribe in detail how a manufacturer must produce a specific device. Rather, the regulation provides the framework that all manufacturers must follow by requiring that manufacturers develop and follow procedures and fill in the details that are appropriate to a given device according to the current state-of-the-art manufacturing for that specific device.


Applicability of the QS Regulation


The QS regulation applies to finished device manufacturers who intend to commercially distribute medical devices. A finished device is defined in 21 CFR 820.3(l) as any device or accessory to any device that is suitable for use or capable of functioning, whether or not it is packaged, labeled, or sterilized.

GMP Exemptions

FDA has determined that certain types of medical devices are exempt from GMP requirements.  These devices are exempted by FDA classification regulations published in the Federal Register and codified in 21 CFR 862 to 892.  Exemption from the GMP requirements does not exempt manufacturers of finished devices from keeping complaint files (21 CFR 820.198) or from general requirements concerning records (21 CFR 820.180).

Medical devices manufactured under an investigational device exemption (IDE) are not exempt from design control requirements under 21 CFR 820.30 of the QS regulation.

Additional Quality System Information

  • Quality System (QS) Regulation

    21 CFR 820
    Medical Device Quality System Regulation and Preamble

  • Quality System Regulation Guidance Documents

    Quality System Information for Certain Premarket Application Reviews – Guidance for Industry and FDA Staff (PDF – 548KB)

  • Design Controls

    Design Control Guidance For Medical Device Manufacturers (PDF – 179KB)

  • Human Factors

    Human Factors and Medical Devices

  • Other Related Information

    Workshops & Conferences (Medical Devices)
    CDRH Learn
    What is the relationship between FDA’s Quality System Regulation for Devices, Part 820 and ISO 9001: 2000? (PDF – 10KB)