Cardinal Health 303 signs FDA decree to correct manufacturing violations

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Three top executives for Cardinal Health 303, formerly known as Alaris Medical Systems, have signed an amended consent decree with the FDA to correct violations of current good manufacturing practice requirements (cGMP) in the company's infusion pumps.

Under the terms of the decree, the FDA said that Cardinal 303 agreed to comply with the cGMP requirements and Quality System (QS) regulations in the designing, manufacturing, processing, packing, repacking, labeling, holding or distributing of its infusion pumps. The company also must retain an independent expert consultant to inspect of all of its infusion pump facilities and recall procedures, and certify to the FDA that corrections have been made. Also, it must submit to the FDA a corrective action plan to bring all infusion pumps currently in use in the United States into compliance with the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

The decree covers all of the company's infusion pumps, including the Alaris System (formerly known as Medley) infusion pump, the Gemini infusion pump and the Med System III infusion pump, according to the FDA.

“We are taking the FDA’s observations – and our obligation to deliver safe and effective products – very seriously,” said David Schlotterbeck, Cardinal Health vice chairman and CEO of clinical and medical products division. “We will continue to improve our systems as we prepare to meet the additional requirements of the amended consent decree.”

In August 2006, U.S. Marshals seized certain models of Cardinal 303's Alaris SE (formerly known as the Signature Edition) line of infusion pumps at its manufacturing facility in San Diego. In 2007, Cardinal 303 signed a consent decree, agreeing to cease manufacturing, processing or distributing the Alaris SE line of infusion pumps until it corrected the deviations from the QS regulations. The FDA said that Cardinal 303 "is still in the process of making these corrections."

After the company signed the consent decree related to the SE line, the agency said that FDA investigators found similar QS deviations relating to another line of Cardinal 303's infusion pumps. Among the deficiencies was a failure to notify the FDA in a timely manner after becoming aware that one of its infusion pumps had malfunctioned and that the device would be likely to cause or contribute to death or serious injury if the malfunction were to recur. Cardinal 303 also failed to establish and maintain procedures to review, evaluate and investigate complaints of malfunction or failure of its pumps, according to the FDA. Based on the violations, the agency said it sought to amend the 2007 decree to cover all of Cardinal 303's infusion pumps.

Once Cardinal 303 makes the corrective actions specified in the decree, the company must hire an independent auditor to conduct annual audit inspections of all of its infusion pump facilities for at least four years and report the results to the FDA.

The amended consent decree also authorizes the FDA, if future violations occur, to order company to cease manufacturing and distributing, to recall products, among other actions. The defendants may be required to pay damages of $15,000 per day if they fail to comply with any provisions of the decree, and an additional $15,000 for each violation, up to $15 million per year.

The amended consent decree was filed on Feb. 18 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California and is effective when entered by the court. The FDA noted that the terms of the 2007 consent decree are still in effect.