FDA's proposed rule for the regulation of laboratory-developed tests

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Journal of clinical microbiology


In October 2023, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a proposed rule that ends enforcement discretion for laboratory-developed tests (LDTs). The FDA's proposal outlines a five-stage implementation to begin regulating LDTs as they do for commercial in vitro diagnostics (IVDs), including modified FDA-approved/cleared tests. We outline here concerns from the clinical and public health microbiology laboratory perspective. It is our opinion that LDTs performed by individual Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments-certified diagnostic laboratories should not be regulated in the same way as commercial IVDs. This rule, if finalized, will negatively impact the diagnostic services currently offered by clinical and public health laboratories and, therefore, patients and the providers who care for them. Ending enforcement discretion will likely stifle diagnostic innovation and decrease access to diagnostic testing and health equity. Furthermore, the lack of infrastructure, including personnel and funding, at the FDA and diagnostic laboratories to support the required submissions for review is an obstacle. Like the FDA, diagnostic laboratories prioritize patient safety, accurate clinical diagnostics, and health equity. Since the scope of the LDT landscape is currently unknown, we are supportive of a registration process, along with non-burdensome adverse event reporting, to first understand the scope of clinical use of LDTs and any associated safety concerns. Any regulatory rule should be based on data that have been gathered systematically, not anecdotes or case reports. A rule must also balance the potential negative impact to patient care with realistic safety risks for infectious disease diagnostics.

Medical Subject Headings

Humans; United States; Laboratories; Clinical Laboratory Services; United States Food and Drug Administration

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ePub ahead of print





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