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How Declaration of Conformity (DoC) templates are created

This article about declaration of conformity for medical device CE Marking identifies three possible sources for creating a template and includes recommendations for making the transition to the proposed EU Medical Device Regulation (EMDR).

%name How Declaration of Conformity (DoC) templates are createdCurrent declaration of conformity requirements

Each of the three “New Approach” Device Directives require that manufacturers create a Declaration of Conformity (DoC). For the Medical Device Directive (MDD), this requirement is found in Annex II, IV, V, VI and VII. In fact, “Declaration of Conformity” is part of the title for each of those Annexes. A DoC is required for each CE Marked product family, but the MDD does not provide guidance for the format or content. Manufacturers need a controlled template.

Three sources of declaration of conformity examples

There are three possible sources for creating a declaration of conformity template:

  1. Copy another company’s declaration of conformity
  2. Authorized Representatives
  3. Annex III of the proposed European Medical Device Regulations

Most companies are using option number 1—often without knowing it. The problem with this approach is you have no regulatory reference to justify the basis for the content and format of your Declaration.

The second option is to ask your Authorized Representative (AR). The AR is supposed to verify that you have a DoC for each product family, and that the company has the required technical documentation for each product family. The AR must provide a DoC for each product they represent to the Competent Authority upon request. Therefore, some ARs provide manufacturers with a template for the DoC to ensure that your DoC meets requirements. This approach gives you a reference of external origin, and you can be sure that the template will meet current requirements.

My new recommendation for Creating A declaration of conformity

Option 3 is my new recommendation to companies. The proposed European Medical Device Regulation (EMDR) was released on September 26, 2012. The proposal provides a prescriptive template for the content of a DoC. This will eventually be required for every DoC. Annex III is only one page long and there are only 10 requirements:

  1. Name of the Manufacturer and the AR
  2. Declaration that DoC Issued under Sole Responsibility of Manufacturer
  3. Unique Device Identifier (UDI)
  4. Product Name and Catalog Numbers
  5. Risk Classification
  6. Declaration Statement of Conformity
  7. Reference to Harmonized Standards and Common Technical Specifications (CTS)
  8. Notified Body Name and Number, Description of Conformity Assessment Procedure and Certificate
  9. Additional Information
  10. Place and Date of Issue, along with the Name and Function of the Person Signing

Instead of waiting for the final approval of the EMDR, I recommend creating a declaration of conformity (DoC) template now that matches the proposed Annex III (you might want to add this to recommendations for improvement in your next management review).

Brigid Glass is the subject matter expert behind most of the conventions that our consulting firm uses for document templates. As with all of our forms, we assign a document control number (e.g., FRM-001) and the revision is “D1” for the first draft. The template is in table format in order to facilitate easier review by auditors and your AR. The left column of the table lists each of the required elements, and the right column is where the variable data is entered. Variable fields that are examples are in green font, and the content that does not require changing is in a black font. There are some comments to explain how to fill in the variable content, and several items that will change when the proposed regulation is approved are identified. The following harmonized symbols from ISO 15233-1 are used in the template, as well:

DoC How Declaration of Conformity (DoC) templates are created

Please click here to download Medical Device Academy’s declaration of conformity (DoC) template.

 

 

 

 

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EU Mandates Fast-Tracking Changes to the CE Mark Approval Process

EU Parliament is fast-tracking changes to “New Approach” and the CE Mark approval process. Impact of Oct 22 plenary vote is reviewed and predictions made.

newapproace2.0 EU Mandates Fast Tracking Changes to the CE Mark Approval Process

The “New Approach” was applied to CE Marking of medical devices in the 1990’s when member states adopted three “new approach” directives specific to medical devices:

  1. Medical Device Directive, 93/42/EEC (http://bit.ly/M5MDD),
  2. Active Implantable Medical Devices Directive, 90/385/EEC (http://bit.ly/AIMDDirective), and
  3. In Vitro Diagnostics Directive, 98/79/EC (http://bit.ly/currentIVDD).

The “Old Approach” Directives were extremely detailed. EU member states introduced national standards and regulations faster than the Commission could finalize the “Old Approach” Directives. These national standards and regulations created trade barriers within the EU. Therefore, on May 7, 1985, the European Council resolution was proposed as “a new approach to technical harmonization and standards” (http://bit.ly/CouncilResolution1985).

Basics of the “New Approach”

The “New Approach” Directives (http://bit.ly/EuropaNewApproach) rely heavily upon International Standards, and the Directives are limited to Essential Requirements for Health & Safety. Implementation of the “new approach” directives allows for medical devices to be CE Marked by the manufacturer if the manufacturer completes one of the conformity assessment procedures identified in the applicable Directive.

Typically, Class I devices are self-certified by the manufacturer, while Class IIa, IIb and Class III devices require Notified Body (NB) involvement. Each NB interprets the Directives slightly differently, and the competent authority presiding over each NB audits the NB for compliance with the Directives. These differences are not ideal, but the process enables rapid approval of CE Marking applications, because there is no centralized review process—unlike the US FDA.

The Council Resolution of 1985 states that the EU Commission shall review new International standards to determine if the standards are harmonized with the requirements of the applicable directive(s). If not, the Commission may identify shortcomings of those standards. A list of the harmonized standards is maintained on the Europa website. The following is a link to the standards harmonized with the MDD: http://bit.ly/ENHarmonizedStandards. For more information about implementation of the “New Approach,” you can download a guidance document from the Europa website: http://bit.ly/Resolution85.

Politics of the Plenary Vote

Erik Vollebregt (http://bit.ly/ErikVollebregt) wrote a great analysis on October 21 (http://bit.ly/10minutestomidnight) about the flaws in the rapporteur’s (http://bit.ly/DagmarRoth-Behrendt) arguments for the draft legislation. In one of his earlier blog postings, however, he predicted that the EP would vote in favor of the draft legislation. Amanda Maxwell (http://bit.ly/AmandaMaxwell) wrote another article in Clinica on October 18 (http://bit.ly/TwoPossibleOutcomes). She predicted two possible outcomes.

The first possible outcome was a mandate from the EP for the rapporteurs to negotiate a final text for the Medical Device Regulations (MDR, http://bit.ly/DraftMedicalDeviceLegislation) with the European Council (i.e., fast-track procedure).

The second possible outcome was a vote of the text as the first reading position of the EP. Due to the European legislative process (http://bit.ly/EULegislativeProcedure), this outcome would result in a delay of final approval of the MDR beyond the April 2014 elections in Europe. On October 12 (http://bit.ly/EMDR-Frankenstein), I stated that I hoped for outright rejection of the draft legislation, but I predicted that we would have the worst possible outcome—an EP mandate to negotiate a final text with the Council.

Flawed Interpretations by the EU Commission

Instead of relying heavily upon International Standards, the EU Commission is identifying minor differences between the Directives and the International Standards. In the past, these differences would be resolved when competent authorities issued a guidance document (i.e., MEDDEVs). However, now the Commission is proposing to adopt new Common Technical Specifications (CTS) instead. This provision for adopting a CTS is found in Article 7 of the proposed regulations. The compromise amendments retained the provision in Article 7 for adopting a CTS, but Amendment 7 now indicates that a CTS shall only be adopted when harmonized standards do not exist, are not likely to be adopted within a reasonable period, “have become obsolete or have been demonstrated as clearly insufficient according to vigilance or surveillance data.”

The seven deviations identified in the EN ISO 14971:2012 Standard (http://bit.ly/riskblogs) are an example of how the EU Commission is using literal interpretations of the Directives in order to subjugate the CE Marking process to a corrupted version of the ground-breaking “New Approach.” The details of the EP changes are not yet available, but I suspect Amendment 7 will not change. What is also unclear is if the Commission will continue to insist that International Standards do not meet the letter of the law and therefore are inadequate. It is quite scary to think that politicians and lawyers believe they actually know better than a committee of international subject matter experts.

An EP Improvement? – New Approach v2.0

The Plenary vote today introduced some new regulations that did not exist in the draft legislation and the EP mandated negotiation with the Council. Early reactions to the vote were published by Eucomed (http://bit.ly/EPImprovement) and Clinica (http://bit.ly/Clinica-EUFast-Track). These reactions were more positive than I expected, but I fully expect Eucomed to return to its position of criticizing the EP version of regulations before the holidays arrive.

The European Parliament (EP) is rewriting the strategic plan for medical device regulation in Europe. Eliminating the European Medicines Agency from the mix (Article 44a) and replacing it with an “improved” scrutiny process (Article 44, rev 2?) will not substantially accelerate approval of CE Marking applications for high-risk devices. Companies are already frustrated by delays at Notified Bodies and multiple rounds of questions during the review process. The addition of scrutiny by the proposed Medical Device Coordination Group (MDCG), established in Article 78 of the proposal, will increase the costs and delays associated with the CE Marking process. Instead of a streamlined process that allows innovative medical devices to get to market quickly, the EP has created a Frankenstein of regulatory bodies that will result in skyrocketing healthcare costs and bring the flow of innovative devices to a screeching halt.

The EP has mandated that the rapporteurs negotiate a final text with the Council. The EP knows that the member states cannot afford this “stricter” process, and medical device companies cannot afford it either. I predict this will be an ugly political war between the Council and the EP. I also have zero confidence that the EP approach to the MDR will prevent scandals and unsafe products getting to market. Scandals (http://bit.ly/MHRAReport) and safety issues associated with Metal-on-Metal (MoM) hip implants (http://bit.ly/MoMImplantLessons) are post-market problems—not weaknesses in the CE Marking approval process. I hope that the Council’s counter-proposal to the rapporteurs will be different, but what if it’s worse?

Is anyone interested in learning about Canadian Medical Device Licensing (http://bit.ly/ClassificationforHC)?

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ISO 14971 Deviation #5-Risk Control for CE Marking Medical Devices

The author reviews ISO 14971 Deviation #5, which is specific to selecting risk control options and protective measures for CE Marking medical devices.

%name ISO 14971 Deviation #5 Risk Control for CE Marking Medical DevicesIf your company is CE Marking medical devices, you are required to satisfy the Essential Requirements for Safety and Performance as defined in the three European Directives (i.e., – the MDD, http://bit.ly/M5MDD; the AIMD, http://bit.ly/AIMDDirective; and the IVDD, http://bit.ly/currentIVDD. Throughout these Essential Requirements, there is a requirement to reduce risks “as far aspossible” (AFAP) by implementing risk controls. At one time, the expectation was for companies to implement the state of the art with regard to risk controls, and “state of the art” was interpreted as the latest version of the harmonized ISO Standards. However, lawyers dominating the European Commission appear to disagree with the status quo.

Therefore, in 2012, the European National (EN) version of the Medical Device Risk Management Standard was revised (http://bit.ly/ISO14971-2012changes). There is no change to the content of Clauses 1 through 9. Instead, the European Commission identified seven content deviations between the 14971 Standard and the EU Directives. These deviations are identified and explained in Annexes ZA, ZB, and ZC. This blog is the fifth installment of Medical Device Academy’s seven-part blog series on this topic. The goal of the series is to identify solutions for meeting the Essential Requirements by suggesting changes to the current best practices of implementing a risk management process for medical device design.

Discretion as to the Risk Control Options/Measuresiso14971 deviation 5 ISO 14971 Deviation #5 Risk Control for CE Marking Medical Devices

Essential Requirement 1 and 2 require that risk control options are implemented for all risks prior to determining acceptability of residual risks. Essential requirement 2 also requires manufacturers to implement all risk control options—unless the risk controls do not further reduce risk.

Clause 6.2 of the 14971 Standard suggests that you only need to use “one or more” of the risk control options, and Clause 6.4 indicates that further risk control measures are not needed if the risk is acceptable. There is a clear contradiction between the intent of the Standard and the Directives.

If risk acceptability has no impact upon whether you will implement risk controls, there is really no need for performing a preliminary risk evaluation. Therefore, I have three recommendations for changes to your current risk management process:

  1. Ignore Clause 5 of the 2007/2009 version of ISO 14971
  2. Eliminate the second step of risk assessment from your flow chart for risk management (see Figure 1 from the 14971 Standard)
  3. Define risk management policies upon clinical benefits, rather than absolute risks

Instead of performing a preliminary risk evaluation (Clause 6.5), risk/benefit analysis should be moved to Clause 7, where the evaluation of overall residual risk acceptability is required. By making this change, risk controls will be implemented, regardless of risk acceptability, and acceptability of risks will be dependent upon the risk/benefit analysis alone.

Impact of this Deviation

Implementing changes to your risk management process to address this deviation has great potential to impact the design of devices—not just the risk management documentation. Design teams will no longer be able to stop the design process with an initial design that has an “acceptable risk.” Instead, design teams will be forced to implement additional risk controls and protective measures for device designs that already have a low risk of harm for certain failure modes.

The requirement to implement additional risk controls will increase the cost of devices that may have been relatively safe without the risks controls. For example, if a device is not intended to be implanted, but it is a potential foreseeable misuse, then your company may have used the instructions for use to communicate the residual risk associated with misuse of the device. However, now your company will have to implement design controls (e.g., –selection of materials suitable for implantation) to eliminate the risks associated with misuse, and protective measures (e.g., – radio-opaque thread) to help retrieve product that was implanted in an “off-label” usage.

For anyone interested in risk management training, please contact Rob Packard directly by email: rob@13485cert.com.

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What are the Essential Requirements for Medical Device CE Marking?

ER Table1 What are the Essential Requirements for Medical Device CE Marking?

The author reviews the essential requirements for medical device CE marking. Common mistakes to avoid, and the proposed EU regulations are also discussed.

Essential Requirements (ERs) are the requirements for safety and performance specified in Annex I of the three medical device directives. ERs are divided into Part I (i.e., – general requirements) and Part II (i.e., – requirements for design and construction). Evidence of conformity must be provided for all general requirements in Part 1 for all devices—regardless of risk classification, design or construction. The Design and construction requirements in Part 2 may be not applicable, depending upon your device.

When a Notified Body reviews your Technical File or Design Dossier for CE Marking, the auditor must verify that you have addressed each ER. This is typically demonstrated by providing an ER Checklist (ERC). You can find a template for an ERC on the International Medical Device Regulators Forum (IMDRF) website (http://bit.ly/IMDRFDoc) in Appendix A (see example in Figure 1 below) of the GHTF Guidance document explaining the use of a Summary Technical Document (STED) to demonstrate conformity with the principles of safety and performance (http://bit.ly/GHTFSTEDGuidance).

Figure 1 ERC Example What are the Essential Requirements for Medical Device CE Marking?

Figure 1: Example of an ERC

To demonstrate compliance with the ERs, you must provide the following information by filling in the four columns of the ERC:

  1. Applicability to your device,
  2. Method used to demonstrate conformity with the ER,
  3. Reference to the method(s) used, and
  4. Reference to the supporting controlled documents.
Subparts & Common Mistakes

Completing the ERC would be easy if there were only 13 ERs, but eight of the 13 ERs have multiple requirements. For example, ER 13.3 has 14 subparts (i.e., – 13.3a through 13.3n). Each subpart must be addressed when you complete the columns of the ERC table. If any of the parts in ER 7-13 are not applicable to your device, you need to provide a justification. For example, ER 11 and its subparts are not applicable to devices that do not emit radiation. This justification must be documented in the ERC for each subpart.

When you write your justification for non-applicability of an ER, you need to be careful to provide a justification for each part of the requirement. For example, there are three sub-parts to ER 7.5. Each part is a separate paragraph, but these are not identified by a letter, as is done in ER 13.3 and 13.6. Instead, each subpart is a separate paragraph. Within those paragraphs, there is further room for confusion. For example, the third paragraph states that if you use Phthalates in a product that is intended for women or children, then you must provide a justification for its use in the technical documentation, in the instructions for use, within information on the residual risks for these patient groups (i.e., –women and children) and, if applicable, on appropriate precautionary measures.

Proposed EU Regulations

The proposed EU Medical Device Regulations (MDR) are organized into Articles and Annexes–just like the current EU Directives, and the ERs will still be the first Annex of the MDR. However, there will be 19 ERs, instead of 13. The early reviews of the proposed regulations indicated that there were no significant changes, but I have learned the hard way that you should always go to the source and verify the information for yourself. The general organization of the Essential Requirements is still the same, but there are several significant changes that will require providing additional documentation in your Technical File or Design Dossier for CE Marking. Most companies will probably submit a revised ERC to address the new requirements, but you may want to read Medical Device Academy’s review of the new ERs (http://bit.ly/NewERCGap) and prepare accordingly.

Essential Principles Checklists

Health Canada has an Essential Principles checklist (EPC) that is similar to the European ERC, and Australia has a similar document (http://bit.ly/EPCTGA) with only a few minor differences, and the Global Harmonized Task Force (GHTF) created an earlier version in 2005 (http://bit.ly/EPSafetyPerf). Health Canada will typically accept your ERC developed for the European Medical Device Directive (MDD), but a gap analysis should be performed against the Australian Regulations.

Now that the ENVI vote has passed (http://bit.ly/ENVIVotepasses) I asked a new consultant working for me to create a template for the new Essential Requirements in the proposed regulations. You can download this FREE template at: http://bit.ly/NewERCTemplate. This new template also indicates the items that were recently modified (see the redlines).

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Which Countries Require CE Marking of Medical Devices?

 

28 Member States 2013 Which Countries Require CE Marking of Medical Devices?

This blog serves as a reference guide with a discussion of, information resources for, and list of which countries require CE marking of medical devices.

You can locate the current list of countries that require CE Marking of medical devices by visiting the list of Competent Authorities (CAs) on the following Europa webpage (http://bit.ly/ContactPoints). That page has 33 national CAs identified. CAs are the US FDA equivalent in the European Union (EU). In addition to member states in the EU, the CAs list also includes signatories (i.e., – countries that have signed the 1985 Schengen Agreement to allow people to pass between countries with no border controls) and EU candidate member states. For the most current status of candidate member states and potential candidate member states, you can visit the following Europa webpage: (http://bit.ly/EuropaCountries). As of September 21, 2013, the status of the 33 CAs are categorized in the list at the end of this blog posting.

Australia-EU Mutual Recognition Agreement

In addition to the 33 countries listed below, the Australia Therapeutics Goods Administration (TGA) has a mutual recognition agreement with the EU—the EC MRA (http://bit.ly/TGA-EU-MRA). This agreement, however, has limitations. The agreement includes a rule of origin clause which excludes products manufactured outside the EU and Australia. Other restrictions include:

  • Radioactive medical devices
  • High-Risk, Class III devices
  • Excluded barrier contraceptives, including condoms
  • Devices, including medicinal and those of biological origin
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), you can begin the medical device registration process if your company has regulatory approval from one of the founding members of the Global Harmonization Task Force (GHTF). The five founding members are: 1) USA, requiring a 510(k) or PMA; 2) Canada, requiring a Medical Device License; 3) Europe, requiring CE Marking; 4) Australia, requiring Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG); and 5) Japan, requiring Japanese Pharmaceutical Affairs Law (JPAL) certification or approval. The next step is to select an Authorized Representative in the KSA and submit a Medical Device Marketing Authorization (MDMA) application. For low and medium risk device classifications (i.e., – Class I, IIa and IIb), you may begin marketing your device in the KSA prior to obtaining formal regulatory approval (this regulation is subject to potential change). For higher risk devices (i.e., – Class III), you must first obtain MDMA certification prior to distribution of the device in the KSA. The medical device regulations for the KSA are interim regulations. You can verify the current regulations by visiting the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) website (http://bit.ly/SFDAMedicalDevices).

Other Countries

Many other countries have alternate abbreviated processes similar to Australia and the KSA if your medical device is already approved by one of the GHTF countries. Often, this is stated as “country of origin approval.” Countries recognizing country of origin approval that offer an abbreviated approval process include: Argentina, Singapore, China, etc. These countries do not simply “rubber stamp” the approval, but the approval process is less rigorous.

If your product is manufactured in the U.S., but you do not have a PMA or 510(k) issued by the US FDA, a CE certificate is not enough. Your company must establish country of origin status in Europe to take advantage of the abbreviated approval processes. This is sometimes done by establishing a facility in Europe, but the CE certificate must be issued to the European facility. Other workarounds have been developed, but that is beyond the scope of this blog.

2 EU Candidate Member States with Competent Authorities

These two countries below are candidate member states for joining the EU. These countries are not signatories, but both countries have established a competent authority for reporting recalls and vigilance related to medical devices distributed within their borders. Turkey has also has established four Notified Bodies.

  1. Iceland
  2. Turkey

3 EEA Signatories with Competent Authorities

For a long time, Switzerland was neither a member of the EU, nor a signatory. However, in 2008, Switzerland became the 25th country to sign the Schengen Agreement which allows people to pass between countries with no border controls. All three countries below have established a competent authority. Switzerland has established five Notified Bodies, and Norway has two.

  1. Liechtenstein
  2. Norway
  3. Switzerland

28 EU Member States with Competent Authorities

The list below identifies the 28 members of the EU. The date in parenthesis is the year that each member joined the EU. All of these countries have competent authorities that regulate medical devices, and many of these countries have established Notified Bodies. Germany, Italy and the UK have the greatest number of Notified Bodies.

  1. Austria (1995)
  2. Belgium (1952)
  3. Bulgaria (2007)
  4. Croatia (2013)
  5. Cyprus (2004)
  6. Czech Republic (2004)
  7. Denmark (1973)
  8. Estonia (2004)
  9. Finland (1995)
  10. France (1952)
  11. Germany (1952)
  12. Greece (1981)
  13. Hungary (2004)
  14. Ireland (1973)
  15. Italy (1952)
  16. Latvia (2004)
  17. Lithuania (2004)
  18. Luxembourg (1952)
  19. Malta (2004)
  20. Netherlands (1952)
  21. Poland (2004)
  22. Portugal (1986)
  23. Romania (2007)
  24. Slovakia (2004)
  25. Slovenia (2004)
  26. Spain (1986)
  27. Sweden (1995)
  28. United Kingdom (1973)

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What Does the CE Mark Mean, and What is its Purpose?

CE Marking Examples What Does the CE Mark Mean, and What is its Purpose?

The author answers the question of what does the CE Mark mean, what its purpose is related to medical devices and regulatory requirements, if applicable.

In order to facilitate trade throughout the European Economic Area (EEA), products need to be clearly identified as compliant with regional and national regulations. In the EEA, this identification is the CE Mark. “CE” is not an acronym. The mark indicates compliance of your product with the essential requirements in the applicable directive. In the case of medical devices, there are three directives:

  1. Medical Device Directive, 93/42/EEC (http://bit.ly/M5MDD),
  2. Active Implantable Medical Devices Directive, 90/385/EEC (http://bit.ly/AIMDDirective)
  3. In Vitro Diagnostics Directive, 98/79/EC (http://bit.ly/currentIVDD).

Prior to existence of these three directives, medical devices were compliant with the regulations of individual member states. These regulations were extremely detailed, and created a barrier to transport of products between the member states. With the implementation of the new approach directive (http://bit.ly/Resolution85), companies were able to CE Mark medical devices in accordance with one of the three device directives, and medical device products began to flow smoothly throughout the EEA.

Notified Body Numbers

The images at the top of this blog posting are examples of CE Marks from two of the largest medical device Notified Bodies. The four-digit numbers identifies the Notified Body (NB) that issued the CE Certificate for the medical device. This number is only used for medical devices requiring NB involvement. Therefore, non-sterile Class I medical devices that do not have a measurement function are required only to have the “CE” on their labeling. All other medical devices are required to have the “CE” with the NB four-digit number. If one of the Competent Authorities (CAs), the equivalent to the U.S. FDA in each member state, wants to determine which Notified Body is authorizing the CE Marking of a medical device, the CA will look-up the four-digit number on the following NB database (http://bit.ly/NBDatabase).

How to Reproduce the Mark

It is the legal manufacturer’s responsibility to design their own labeling with the CE and NB number—if applicable. This labeling is included in the company’s Technical File, and the NB reviews the Technical File for compliance with the essential requirements in one of the three device directives. For medical devices, the instructions for CE Marking are defined in Annex XII of 93/42/EEC. For active implantable devices, the requirements are found in Annex 9 of 90/385/EEC. For in vitro diagnostic devices, the requirements for CE Marking are found in Annex X of directive 98/79/EC.

These three Annexes are identical, and provide a graduated drawing showing the exact proportions of the “C” and “E” relative to one another. These Annexes also state that “The various components of the CE marking must have substantially the same vertical dimension, which may not be less than 5 mm.” You can obtain a free download of the mark on the Europa website (http://bit.ly/DownloadCE).

The four-digit NB number is intended to be the same boldness and font as the “CE” characters. Therefore, NBs have interpreted the requirement to specify numbers that are at least half the height of the “C” and “E”—or at least 2.5 mm. Each NB also provides instructions to legal manufacturers on how to present the CE characters with their four-digit NB number. Usually, there are a couple of different orientations that are allowed by the NB. For small products, it may not be possible to mark the device with a “C” and “E” that is at least 5 mm. Therefore, the directives waive this minimum dimension for small-scale devices. Most companies, however, will place a “C” and “E” on their labeling that is at least 5 mm in height, instead of marking parts with a “CE” that is illegible.

Use and Misuse of CE Marking

Most companies want to use CE Marking on all product labeling, even for product sold outside the EEA, because other countries recognize it and associate it with safety and performance. It is also acceptable to use the “CE” in product literature. However, it is important that it appears next to product images, or descriptions that have a valid CE Certificate. It is not acceptable to use the “CE” in a way that it might imply that other products have a CE Certificate when the products do not. It is also not acceptable to use the “CE” in a way that it might imply a corporate entity is “CE Marked.” CE Certificates are for products—not for companies.

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CE Marking Routes to Regulatory Approval

ce marking routes CE Marking Routes to Regulatory ApprovalThe author reviews the conformity assessment process contained in Annexes VII, II, V and III related to a company seeking CE Marking regulatory approval.

CE Marking of medical devices requires technical documentation (i.e., – a Technical File or Design Dossier)—regardless of the device classification. However, the classification of the device has a significant impact on the regulatory approval pathways available to your company. Therefore, the first step in the process to CE Marking of medical devices is to determine the risk classification (http://bit.ly/riskclass). There are four device classifications: Class I, IIa, IIb and III.

Once your company has determined the risk classification of the device, then you must determine which conformity assessment procedure you will follow to receive CE Marking approval. The conformity assessment procedures available for each classification are identified in Article 11 of the Medical Device Directive (http://bit.ly/M5MDD), and additional detail is provided in the various Annexes (i.e., – Annex II, III, IV, V, VI and VII). The following table below summarizes the options for each classification:

ce marking chart CE Marking Routes to Regulatory Approval

If your product is a Class I device that is non-sterile and non-measuring, then you will not require a Notified Body (NB). However, all other products will require your company to select a NB (http://bit.ly/SelectingRegistrar).

Annex VII – Declaration of Conformity

If your company does not require NB involvement, then you will be able to issue a Declaration of Conformity in accordance with Annex VII. You will also need to register your product with one of the Competent Authorities (CA) in Europe. CAs are the U.S. FDA equivalent in each EU member state. The following is a list of contact information for all the CAs: http://bit.ly/ContactPoints. If your company does not have a physical presence in Europe, you will also need to select a European Authorized Representative (AR). My recommendation is to select an AR that is one of the 15 members of the European Association of Authorized Representatives (http://bit.ly/EAARMembers).

Annex II – Full Quality Assurance

Most companies use the Annex II conformity assessment process to achieve CE Marking. In this process, the NB reviews your Technical File for conformity, and also reviews your quality system for conformity with regulatory requirements in the applicable directives. As part of the Annex II process, the NB will audit your design process to ensure that you have adequate design controls, and that your process for establishing and maintaining a Technical File is adequate. Once your company has adequately addressed any findings from the audit, the NB will issue your company a Full Quality Assurance (FQA) CE Certificate in accordance with Annex II.3. Once you have the certificate, your company will be able to launch new products without prior approval from the NB. The only requirement is that the new products are within the scope of the Annex II.3 certificate.

Annex V – Production Quality Assurance

The Annex V conformity assessment process is the most common route to CE Marking for companies that outsource product design to a third-party. If your company outsources design, Clause 7.3 is excluded from your ISO 13485 Certification, and you cannot demonstrate “Full Quality Assurance.” Therefore, the NB will issue an Annex V certificate for “Production Quality Assurance.” Annex IV and Annex VI are alternate conformity assessment procedures, but these are used less frequently for medical devices, and are outside the scope of this blog.

Annex III – Type Examination

The Annex III conformity assessment process is a type examination that is performed for higher risk devices where the company does not have an Annex II certificate. This type examination involves a review of your company’s design dossier, and the NB issues a Type Examination CE Certificate. This Certificate cannot be used alone for CE Marking. Type Examination Certificates must be used in conjunction with another CE Certificate, such as the Annex V certification for Production Quality Assurance. This combination would be used for Class IIb and Class III devices in lieu of an Annex II CE Certificate.

If your company needs help with CE Marking, including training on the medical device directive, please contact Medical Device Academy at: rob@13485cert.com. We are also developing a webinar series for this purpose. If you interested in more services, try viewing the following blog category page: http://bit.ly/CEMarking.

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Medical Device CE Marking: Writing a Classification Rationale

%name Medical Device CE Marking: Writing a Classification RationaleThe author reviews considerations in “how to” write a classification rationale for medical device CE marking (i.e., questions for applying classification rules).

 CE Marking of medical devices requires technical documentation (i.e., – a Technical File or Design Dossier). One of the requirements of this technical documentation is to establish the risk class of a device in accordance with the classification rules in Annex IX. The requirement to include this classification rationale in the Technical File is not well defined in Article 9, Classification, of the Medical Device Directive (http://bit.ly/M5MDD), but the guidance document for Technical Documentation (http://bit.ly/NBMED251Rec5) clearly defines this requirement in Section 3.2 (viii). Establishing a classification rationale is the first step to establishing the regulatory pathway that will be required to CE Mark your medical device.

What are the Classifications?

There are four different classifications of medical devices in Europe: Class I, Class IIa, Class IIb and Class III. These four classifications are also referred to as “risk class.” The lowest risk classification is Class I, and the highest risk classification is Class III. Class IIa is considered a “medium risk,” while Class IIb is considered a “high risk” medical device. Notified Body involvement and a CE Certificate from the Notified Body is required for almost all medical devices distributed in Europe, however, Class I devices that are non-sterile and do not perform a measurement function do not require Notified Body involvement. Class I devices that are sterile are often referred to as “Class I-S,”but this is not a term used in the Directive. The same is true of “Class I-M” for Class I devices with a measurement function.

Applying the Rules for Medical Device CE Marking

In order to apply the classification rules as defined in Annex IX of the MDD, the following questions must be answered for the device or device family:

  1. Is the device invasive? –  Invasiveness of a device is an important criterion, because non-invasive devices are generally Class I, and there is typically no Notified Body involvement required for these devices.
  2. Is the device surgically invasive, or invasive with respect to body orifices?  If a device is surgically invasive with respect to a body orifice, Rule 5 is the most likely classification rule. For all other devices that are surgically invasive, the duration of use is important
  3. How long is the device used inside the body? The primary difference between Rules 6, 7 and 8 is the duration of use. In general, permanent implants are subject to Rule 8, and are Class IIb devices. The other surgically invasive devices are generally Class IIa devices. Devices under Rule 6 are for “transient” use (i.e., – intended for continuous use for less than 60 minutes). Devices under Rule 7 are for “short-term” use (i.e., – intended for continuous use for between 60 minutes and 30 days.). There are multiple exceptions to each rule, and these exceptions should all be considered.
  4. Is the device electrically powered (i.e., – an active device)? Active devices are subject to rules 9, 10, 11 and 12.
  5. Do any of the “Special Rules” apply? It is recommended to actually start with Rules 13-18 to ensure that one of the special rules do not apply. For example, if you are making blood bags, there is no need to read anything in Annex IX except Rule 18.
Guidance Document for Classification

Annex IX defines the classification rules for Europe, but there is also a guidance document (http://bit.ly/EUClassification) published that helps to explain the classification rules with examples. This guidance document is extremely important, because it provides clarification of rules based upon interpretations that have been made by Competent Authorities with Notified Bodies and companies. For example, critical anatomical locations are defined in Section 3.1.3: “For the purposes of the Directive 93/42/EEC, ‘central circulatory systemmeans the following vessels:…”.

When you write a classification rationale for your technical documentation, it is important to reference this document—as well as Annex IX of the MDD. Your rationale should address each of the questions above for applying the classification rules. In addition, your rationale should indicate that none of the “Special Rules” (Rules 13-18) are applicable to your device or device family.

Mixed Classifications

It is possible to have a device family, contained within one Technical File or Design Dossier, that has more than one Classification. For example, you could choose to group a family of vascular grafts together in one Technical File that are permanent implants and non-absorbable. Normally, these devices would be Class IIb in accordance with Rule 8. However, if one or more of the grafts is intended for vessels included in the central circulatory system, then these grafts would be Class III devices. If a graft can be used for either indication, then the higher classification should be applied.

Proposed EU Regulations

On September 26, 2012, the European Commission released a draft proposal for a new medical device regulation. The expected implementation transition period for these proposed regulations is 2015-2017. In Annex II of the proposed regulations (http://bit.ly/EUProposal), it specifies that the risk class and applicable classification rationale shall be documented in the technical documentation. This appears as item 1.1e) under the heading of “Device description and specification.”

The MDD defines the classification rules for medical devices in Annex IX, while in the proposed EU regulations classification, rules are now in Annex VII. The MDD also has 18 rules, while the proposed regulations have 21 rules. In order to download a Gap Analysis of the Classification Rules for CE Marking, please visit the following page on this website: http://bit.ly/gapanalysiscmda.

If you need assistance with medical device CE Marking, or you are interested in training on CE Marking, please contact Medical Device Academy at: rob@13485cert.com. Medical Device Academy is developing a webinar series specifically for this purpose. You can also call Rob Packard by phone @ 802.258.1881. For other blogs on the topic of “CE Marking,”please view the following blog category page: http://robertpackard.wpengine.com/category/ce-marking/

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