Compliance with controlling necessities is critical in regulated businesses, particularly medicines, biotechnology, and medical strategies. 21 CFR Part 11, produced by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1997, is an essential rule. The guidelines for electronic signatures and records (ERES) in FDA-regulated trades are outlined in this parameter.

The requirement to adjust to the rising usage of electronic systems in these businesses gave rise to 21 CFR Part 11. Electronic record-keeping ways have gradually supplanted old paper-based schemes due to technological developments. However, this alteration raised queries about the honesty, correctness, and integrity of electronic signs and records. As a result, the FDA formed 21 CFR Part 11 to promise that electronic signatures and databases are just as dependable and trustworthy as those on paper.

21 CFR Part 11 covers numerous electronic record-keeping and signature-related subjects, such as formation, maintenance, revision, retrieval and archiving. It covers proceedings kept by regulated industries as well as those that are straightly submitted to the FDA. Many types of electronic papers are covered by this regulation, including data from medical trials, manufacturing records, quality control data, and delivery records.

The principles for electronic marks are also outlined in 21 CFR Part 11, which highlights how alike they are to handwritten signatures on paper documents. The rule outlines the necessities that must be encountered for an electronic signature to be thought genuine: they must be individually recognizable, able to identify the signer, and reliably linked to the electronic paper.

Medicine, biotechnology, and medical device businesses participating in FDA-regulated doings must follow to 21 CFR Part 11. Serious consequences for nonconformity might include cautionary letters, fines, product evokes, and, in extreme conditions, criminal trials. Therefore, to promise the security, efficiency, and integrity of controlled goods and processes, compliance with the terms of this rule is critical.

To whom does 21 CFR Part 11 compliance apply?

Regarding regulatory necessities is essential in the field of medicines, medical devices, and other regulated industries to guarantee product security, efficacy, and data honesty. 21 CFR Part 11, which was shaped by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States, is one such law that is very significant.

The principles by which electronic proceedings and electronic marks are regarded as reliable, credible, and comparable to paper proceedings are described in 21 CFR Part 11. It offers principles for substituting electronic initials and records with conservative paper and handwritten initials.

Any organization under the purview of FDA regulations and deals with electronic records and signatures must follow 21 CFR Part 11. This consists of, but is not restricted to:

  1. Drug Manufacturing Businesses
  2. Manufacturers of Medical Devices
  3. Organisations for Clinical Research (CROs)
  4. Research Contracting Firms (CROs)
  5. Companies in Biotechnology
  6. Organisations for Regulation
  7. Vendors and Suppliers

Essential Requirements for Electronic Records under 21 CFR Part 11

Organizations are required by 21 CFR Part 11 to maintain electronic records in a way that guarantees their correctness, dependability, and integrity during their existence.

Digital Signatures

Strict specifications for electronic signatures are outlined in the rule. These standards include safeguards to prevent unauthorized usage, authentication techniques, and unique identifiers.

Trails of Audits

To ensure accountability and transparency, organizations must have comprehensive audit trail functions that can monitor and record any modifications made to electronic data.


21 CFR Part 11 compliance depends critically on software and system validation. It entails verifying the accuracy, dependability, and trustworthiness of electronic documents and signatures.

21 CFR Part 11’s Requirements for Electronic Signatures

In the structured pharmaceutical and medical industries, electronic signatures are important to upgrading certification processes. 21 CFR Part 11, which lays out the necessities for their implementation by supervisory bodies like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), lays out the rules leading to electronic signatures. These provisions facilitate the change from conventional paper-based systems to electronic proceedings by guaranteeing electronic signatures’ honesty, legitimacy, and reliability.

By 21 CFR Part 11, electronic signatures need to meet several critical criteria:

  1. Validation: To guarantee their correctness, dependability, and security, electronic signature systems need to go through extensive validation. This entails extensive testing to confirm that electronic signatures are correctly executed and captured and that the system performs as intended.
  2. Authentication: To avoid unwanted access, anyone utilizing electronic signatures must be specifically recognized and verified. Passwords, biometric information, and other secure authentication techniques can be used to confirm the signer’s identity.
  3. Audit Trails: Systems for electronic signatures need to have thorough audit trails that show when electronic records are created, altered, and removed. These audit trails offer traceability to guarantee accountability and transparency and act as a historical record of electronic signature activities.
  4. Data Integrity: To preserve the integrity of the underlying data, electronic signatures must be linked to the electronic records they approve. Techniques like digital signatures, access limits, and encryption prevent unwanted changes or tampering with electronic documents.
  5. Non-repudiation: To avoid a signer from diminishing their consent for the associated electronic records, an electronic sign needs to be enduring and attributed to the signer. Methods for non-repudiation promise that electronic signatures cannot be illegally denied or rejected.
  6. System Security: To safeguard against cyber threats, illegal access, and data openings, electronic signature schemes must have robust safety mechanisms in place. To stop exploitation or management, this entails putting in place interruption detection systems, firewalls, encryption rules, and other security events for electronic documents and initials.
  7. Record Retention: For the duration of their regulatory retention periods, electronic records and the electronic signatures that go with them must be kept in a format that is both safe and easily accessible. This guarantees adherence to record-keeping specifications and expedites regulatory reviews, audits, and inspections.

Organizations governed by FDA rules must adhere to the standards outlined in 21 CFR Part 11, as noncompliance may lead to regulatory concerns, legal ramifications, and compliance problems. Businesses may improve data integrity, expedite documentation procedures, and guarantee FDA compliance by implementing robust electronic signature systems and following all applicable rules.

Modules from DocuSign for compliance with 21 CFR Part 11:

DocuSign has shaped modules with explicit functions to help establishments obey with 21 CFR Part 11, rules the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) set regarding electronic signatures and proceedings in regulated industries like biotechnology, medical plans, and medicines. These modules are planned to assist organizations in rationalizing their operations while ensuring compliance with regulatory standards. They are exactly crafted to meet the 21 CFR Part 11 necessities.

In addition to being obligatory by law, 21 CFR Part 11 obedience is essential to upholding the legitimacy, integrity, and privacy of electronic data and signs in regulated industries. Serious consequences, such as fines, legal consequences, and reputational harm, may rise from breaking these limits. As a result, companies tangled in these sectors need to be practical in safeguarding 21 CFR Part 11 compliance.

The intricacy of the requirements and the rapidly changing nature of technology provide one of the main obstacles that organizations must overcome to comply with 21 CFR Part 11. Organizations must comply with these rules by putting strong security measures in place, keeping thorough audit trails, and guaranteeing the accuracy of electronic signatures and documents. It can be difficult to achieve compliance, especially for organizations with few resources or regulatory compliance experience.

The modules provided by DocuSign for compliance with 21 CFR Part 11 provide a thorough answer to these issues. These modules cover essential topics, including document controls, audit trails, system validation, training and education, and authentication and authorization; organizations can guarantee adherence to 21 CFR Part 11 regulations and expedite their compliance efforts by utilizing DocuSign’s technology and experience.

The enhanced efficiency that DocuSign’s modules offer is one of the main benefits of utilizing them for 21 CFR Part 11 compliance. The time and resources needed to maintain compliance are decreased since these modules automate many compliance-related operations. Furthermore, DocuSign’s modules improve security by putting strong authentication, encryption, and access control mechanisms in place, which lowers the possibility of tampering or unauthorized access.

Moreover, DocuSign’s 21 CFR Part 11 compliance modules are adaptable and expandable, enabling businesses to tailor them to their unique requirements. Whether it works in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, or medical devices, any company can customize DocuSign’s modules to meet their compliance needs and workflows.