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Regulatory framework

Book with stethoscope © Jeffrey Horler - Fotolia


Based on the New Approach, rules relating to the safety and performance of medical devices were harmonised in the EU in the 1990s. The core legal framework consists of 3 directives: Directive 90/385/EECpdf [158 KB] regarding active implantable medical devices, Directive 93/42/EECpdf [265 KB] regarding medical devices and Directive 98/79/ECpdf [199 KB] regarding in vitro diagnostic medical devices. They aim at ensuring a high level of protection of human health and safety and the good functioning of the Single Market. These 3 main directives have been supplemented over time by several modifying and implementing directives, including the last technical revision brought about by Directive 2007/47/ECpdf [185 KB] .

Implementing measures

The Commission adopted several implementing measures based on the Medical Devices Directives. These measures concern medical devices manufactured utilising tissues of animal origin, the classification of certain medical devices and Common Technical Specifications for IVDs listed in Annex II of the IVD Directive.


In addition, legally non-binding Guidance documents MEDDEV, consensus statements and interpretative documents pursue the objective of ensuring uniform application of the relevant provisions of the directives within the EU.

Revision of the regulatory framework

In 2008, the Commission held a public consultation concerning the recast of the medical devices directives.  This was complemented by a public consultation held in 2010regarding the technical aspects of the revision of the In vitro diagnostic medical devices directive. This process shall lead to a fundamental revision of the existing directives in order to simplify and strengthen the current EU legal framework for medical devices.