What if Contract Manufacturers does not have an ISO 13485 certificate? Where will the NB audit take place, at legal mfg. site or contract mfg. site?

anbknaga

Starting to get Involved
#1
Hi, We are intending to outsource the manufacturing (and design as well) to a contract manufacturer who does not have an ISO 13485 system in place. Since we will be the legal manufacturers, Is it enough for us to have a detailed quality agreement to control the development/mfg. activities at the contract mfg's end?

Also, where will the NB audit take place? Which site should I use for device mfg. site? Can I give the mfg. site as my address?
 
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shimonv

Trusted Information Resource
#2
When you outsource the manufacturing and design activities your suppliers become critical supplier, and therefore your NB will audit you and your subcontractor. Most likely they will spend more time at your subcontractors where most of the action is.
It's not a regulatory requirement for your subcontractor to be ISO 13485 certified, but the NB will check them against the principles of the standard and you are likely to get a lot of findings to your name!
If your subcontractors don't understand ISO 13485 you will have a lot of headache explaining quality to them and enforcing corrective action. Not recommended.

Shimon
 

Watchcat

Trusted Information Resource
#3
I also do not recommend outsourcing to a contract manufacturer that is not ISO 13485 certified.

I think this option may appeal to startups worried about their burn rate, because these contract manufacturers may bid substantially lower than ISO 13485 certified contract manufacturers, if they do not appreciate the burdens that meeting ISO 13485 requirements will place on them. (And, as Shimon has noted, they will have to meet these requirements, whether they obtain certification or not.) Or they might appreciate them, but realize that the startup does not, and they can bring in the business with a low bid up front and leave the startup to bear the brunt later.

Since the contract manufacturer is not ISO 13485 certified, the device company must create an agreement that essentially replicates ISO 13485, or the contract manufacturer will not be obligated to meet these requirements. Then, when the findings start rolling in, it can say (often correctly) that the work it will have to do to address the findings is outside the scope of the original agreement, and therefore must be done at an additional cost. So, in the end, the device company incurs the same costs but had to go through a lot more headaches than if it had gone with an ISO 13485 certified contract manufacturer in the first place.

Beyond that, if it is a one-device startup, I don't think it makes any sense for a contract manufacturer to take on the infrastructure burden equivalent to an ISO 13485 certified manufacturer in order to manufacture a single medical device. Under this scenario, the contract manufacturer should actually have to charge the startup more, not less, than an ISO 13485 certified contract manufacture that specializes in medical devices. That's because the latter can spread its ISO 13485-related infrastructure costs across its numerous medical device clients, where the former must include all of these costs in what it charges the one medical device client to manufacture its medical device.

When everyone reaches the point that all of the above has become painfully obvious, I don't think either the device startup nor the contract manufacturer are likely to be very happy with how things turned out.
 
Last edited:

anbknaga

Starting to get Involved
#4
Thank you for your reply. That was so informative. Even with an ISO certified supplier, we need a contract manufacturing agreement right wherein the legal manufacture as to take full control of all the aspects that are outsourced to the CM? Do you have any samples of such agreement where I can understand the intricacies of such a trade agreement?
I also do not recommend outsourcing to a contract manufacturer that is not ISO 13485 certified.

I think this option may appeal to startups worried about their burn rate, because these contract manufacturers may bid substantially lower than ISO 13485 certified contract manufacturers, if they do not appreciate the burdens that meeting ISO 13485 requirements will place on them. (And, as Shimon has noted, they will have to meet these requirements, whether they obtain certification or not.) Or they might appreciate them, but realize that the startup does not, and they can bring in the business with a low bid up front and leave the startup to bear the brunt later.

Since the contract manufacturer is not ISO 13485 certified, the device company must create an agreement that essentially replicates ISO 13485, or the contract manufacturer will not be obligated to meet these requirements. Then, when the findings start rolling in, it can say (often correctly) that the work it will have to do to address the findings is outside the scope of the original agreement, and therefore must be done at an additional cost. So, in the end, the device company incurs the same costs but had to go through a lot more headaches than if it had gone with an ISO 13485 certified contract manufacturer in the first place.

Beyond that, if it is a one-device startup, I don't think it makes any sense for a contract manufacturer to take on the infrastructure burden equivalent to an ISO 13485 certified manufacturer in order to manufacture a single medical device. Under this scenario, the contract manufacturer should actually have to charge the startup more, not less, than an ISO 13485 certified contract manufacture that specializes in medical devices. That's because the latter can spread its ISO 13485-related infrastructure costs across its numerous medical device clients, where the former must include all of these costs in what it charges the one medical device client to manufacture its medical device.

When everyone reaches the point that all of the above has become painfully obvious, I don't think either the device startup nor the contract manufacturer are likely to be very happy with how things turned out.
 
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