From contact lenses and sticking plasters to pacemakers and X-ray scanners, medical devices and in vitro diagnostic medical devices are essential to our health and quality of life as well as to the European economy.
We all expect medical devices to be safe and to incorporate the latest progress in science and manufacturing technology. Since the EU’s rules on the safety and performance of medical devices were laid down in the late 1990s, however, there have been discrepancies in their interpretation across Europe. Issues have also arisen in some categories of medical devices, for instance breast implants and metal-on-metal hip implants.
To reflect progress over the last 20 years, the EU has therefore revised the legal framework. 2 new Regulations – one on medical devices and the other on in vitro diagnostic medical devices – were adopted by the Council and the Parliament, and entered into force in May 2017.
The new rules will only fully apply after a transitional period. That period lasts for 3 years after the entry into force of the Regulation on Medical Devices (i.e. until May 2020), and 5 years after the entry into force of the Regulation on in vitro Diagnostic Medical Devices (i.e. until May 2022).
Regulation (EU) 2017/745 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 April 2017 on medical devices, amending Directive 2001/83/EC, Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 and Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 and repealing Council Directives 90/385/EEC and 93/42/EEC
Regulation (EU) 2017/746 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 April 2017 on in vitro diagnostic medical devices and repealing Directive 98/79/EC and Commission Decision 2010/227/EU
The new Regulations contain a series of extremely important improvements to modernise the current system. Among them are
More information is available in this presentation that contains general information on key changes contained in the Regulations and transitional periods.
See the new rules to ensure safety of medical devices.
All actors involved with medical devices, from their manufacture to their use, will have to comply with the new Regulations by May 2020 (May 2022 for in vitro diagnostic medical devices). It is important that all actors are fully aware of the changes and start preparing for the implementation of the new Regulations as soon as possible.
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Problems with diverging interpretation of the current Directives as well as the incident concerning fraudulent production of the PIP silicone breast implants highlighted weaknesses in the legal system in place at the time and damaged the confidence of patients, consumers and healthcare professionals in the safety of medical devices. Such problems should not occur again and the safety of all medical devices available in the EU has to be strengthened. Moreover, revision of the legislation was necessary to consolidate the role of the EU as a global leader in the sector over the long-term and to take into account all technological and scientific developments in the sector.
The new regulations will ensure:
Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/2185 of 23 November 2017 on the codes for the designation of notified bodies in medical devices under Regulation (EU) 2017/745 and in vitro diagnostic medical devices under Regulation (EU) 2017/746.
As of 26 November 2017, conformity assessment bodies may apply for designation as notified bodies under Regulations (EU) 2017/745 and 2017/746. Guidance documents and forms are available in MDCG documents. This explanatory note provides answers to the most frequent questions asked about the designation process, and in particular the scheduling of joint assessments.
Information on the applications for designation as a notified body: Short overview of the state-of-play of joint assessments of Notified Bodies in the medical device sector at the date of 14 February 2019.
This Rolling plan contains the list of essential implementing acts and actions for the transitional period as well as information on expected timelines and state-of-play.
Its 2 main sections are implementing acts and other actions/initiatives. The rolling plan will be reviewed quarterly to provide operators with the latest information.
Use this document together with the 'MDR/IVDR roadmap', produced by the Competent Authorities for Medical Devices project (CAMD) and the Commission. The roadmap is more comprehensive. It gives an overview of all the Commission's and national competent authorities' expected initiatives (including guidance) during the transitional period.