Medical devices (MedDevs) and medicines are assessed (and monitored) differently before and after launch. There are products for repeated oral ingestion that are marketed in the European Union as MedDevs. Objectives and methods: To illustrate the consequences of these differences in assessment, we compared the leaflet information of three MedDevs with the standards for medicines and with published evidence at launch. As examples, gelatin tannate (GT), its combination with tyndalised probiotics (TP) (GTTP) for diarrhoea and a gel containing hyaluronic acid (HA)/chondroitin sulfate (CS)/poloxamer (Pol407) (HACSPol) for gastro-oesophageal reflux disease were examined. Results: Applying standards for medicines, product composition is insufficiently defined in the MedDev leaflet (eg, plant origin, polymerisation grade, dose and ratio of the relevant constituents). All leaflets allow unlimited use in children from birth onwards, while published clinical documentation in children was poor (GT) or lacking (GTTP and HACSPol). MedDev leaflets do not mention adverse events (AEs), while literature search suggests safety concerns such as tannic acid (TA) cytotoxicity, potentially more diarrhoea/AEs with TP, use of doses higher than established safe (TA and HA) and lack of chronic toxicity studies for oral Pol407. None refers to interactions with medicines, although some ingredients may affect medicine absorption. Conclusion: Although these MedDevs require repeated oral intake as do medicines, their assessment and monitoring differ significantly from the standards for medicines. Compared with medicines, MedDevs for repeated oral use are poorly labelled and rely on very limited clinical information at market release.

clinical pharmacology, Medical Devices legislation, paediatrics,
Archives of Disease in Childhood
Department of Pediatrics

Huijghebaert, S. (Suzy), De Bruyne, P. (Pauline), Allegaert, K.M, Vande Velde, S, Debruyne, R. (Ruth), Van Biervliet, S, & Van Winckel, M. (2019). Medical devices that look like medicines: Safety and regulatory concerns for children in Europe. Archives of Disease in Childhood. doi:10.1136/archdischild-2018-316391