|INTUITIVE SURGICAL INC filed this Form 10-K on 02/02/2018|
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directives. In order to obtain the authorization to affix the CE mark to products, a manufacturer must obtain certification that its processes and products meet certain European quality standards. In January 1999, we received permission to affix the CE mark to our da Vinci Surgical System and EndoWrist instruments and have maintained this authorization continuously since that time. From time to time we seek the authorization to affix the CE mark to new or modified products. Subsequent products and accessories have received marketing authorization by our Notified Body, PreSafe.
As we modify existing products or develop new products in the future, including new instruments, we currently plan to apply for authorization to affix the CE mark to such products. In addition, we are subject to annual regulatory audits in order to maintain the CE mark authorizations we have already obtained including inspection of our compliance to required standards and directives. We cannot be certain we will be able to affix the CE mark for new or modified products or that we will continue to meet the quality and performance standards required to maintain the authorizations we have already received. If we are unable to maintain permission to affix the CE mark to our products, we will no longer be able to sell our products in member countries of the EU and many affiliated countries that accept the CE mark, which would have a material adverse effect on our results of operations. Some member states of the EU have additional requirements for registration and notification which may add to the time and effort to obtain market access. In addition, the regulations applied to end users of our products may increase over time, forcing us to provide additional solutions to regulations which do not apply directly to us, but which apply indirectly as they may limit our customers’ ability to use our products.
In April 2017, the Medical Device Regulation was adopted to replace the Medical Device Directive (93/42/EEC), as amended. The Medical Device Regulation will apply after a three-year transition period and imposes stricter requirements for the marketing and sale of medical devices and grants Notified Bodies increased post-market surveillance authority. We may be subject to risks associated with additional testing, modification, certification, or amendment of our existing market authorizations, or we may be required to modify products already installed at our customers’ facilities to comply with the official interpretations of these revised regulations.
To date, we received approvals from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (“MHLW”) for our da Vinci S, Si, and Xi Surgical Systems and various associated instruments and accessories for use in certain da Vinci procedures. We may seek additional approvals for other products and/or indications; however, there can be no assurance that such approvals will be granted. In addition, because not all of our instruments have received product approvals, and reimbursement is an additional process to generate market acceptance, it is possible that procedures will be adopted slowly or not at all. Sales of our products depend, in part, on the extent to which the costs of our products are reimbursed by governmental health administration authorities. To date, we have received reimbursement approval for prostatectomy and partial nephrectomy procedures in Japan. There are multiple pathways to obtain reimbursement for procedures including those that require in-country clinical data and which are considered for reimbursed status in April of even numbered years. If we are not successful in obtaining the necessary reimbursement approvals or obtaining approvals for future products and procedures, then the demand for our products could be limited. These limitations could eliminate a significant market opportunity for our products in Japan.
Our capital sales in China are subject to importation authorizations and central purchasing tender processes. Therefore, future system sales and our ability to grow future procedure volumes are dependent on the completion of these central purchasing tender authorizations, the most recent of which expired at the end of 2015. The timing and magnitude of these future authorizations, which may determine our system placements in future years, is not certain and we expect to continue to experience variability in the timing of capital sales in China.
IF OUR MANUFACTURING FACILITIES DO NOT CONTINUE TO MEET FEDERAL, STATE, OR OTHER MANUFACTURING STANDARDS, WE MAY BE REQUIRED TO TEMPORARILY CEASE ALL OR PART OF OUR MANUFACTURING OPERATIONS, IMPORT/EXPORT OF OUR PRODUCTS, AND/OR RECALL SOME PRODUCTS WHICH WOULD RESULT IN SIGNIFICANT PRODUCT DELIVERY DELAYS AND LOST REVENUE.
Our manufacturing facilities are subject to periodic inspection by regulatory authorities, and our operations will continue to be regulated and inspected by the FDA and other regulatory agencies for compliance with Good Manufacturing Practice requirements contained in the QSR and other regulatory requirements. We are also required to comply with International Organization for Standardization (“ISO”) quality system standards as well as European Directives and norms in order to produce products for sale in the EU. In addition, many countries such as Canada and Japan have very specific additional regulatory requirements for quality assurance and manufacturing. If we fail to continue to comply with Good Manufacturing Practice requirements, as well as ISO or other regulatory standards, we may be required to cease all or part of our operations until we comply with these regulations.
We continue to be subject to FDA and certain other inspections at any time. Maintaining such compliance is difficult and costly. We cannot be certain that our facilities will be found to comply with Good Manufacturing Practice requirements or ISO standards and other regulatory requirements in future inspections and audits by regulatory authorities.
Our Sunnyvale, California facility is licensed by the State of California to manufacture medical devices. We have been subject to periodic inspections by the California Department of Health Services Food and Drug Branch and, if we are unable to maintain
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