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European Medical Device Regulations: A Bureaucratic Frankenstein

Author reviews details of the latest proposal for medical device CE Marking regulations in Europe–including recommendations and predictions for the plenary vote by the European Parliament.

The Future of Medical Device CE Marking European Medical Device Regulations: A Bureaucratic Frankenstein

Who will approve medical device CE Marking in the future?

Last year we were concerned about the potential for delays caused by the “Scrutiny Process”—Article 44 of the proposed European Medical Device Regulations (EMDR). Two weeks ago, we reported on the vote by the EU Parliament Committee for the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI). The EVNI vote was in favor of the compromise amendments to the EMDR. This vote eliminated Article 44 and replaced it with Article 44a. Article 44a is a “case-by-case” assessment procedure for certain high-risk devices.

Comparison of Article 44a with the US FDA’s pre-market approval (PMA) process was made (http://bit.ly/EucomedSep25PressRelease), but the compromise amendment is unique. Three things differentiate the EMDR from any other system used in the World:

  1. Instead of a centralized regulatory authority like the US FDA, CE Marking will continue to use Notified Bodies. Still, we will now have two distinct classes: Regular Notified Bodies and Special Notified Bodies.
  2. The proposed “case-by-case” assessment process will involve the most complicated bureaucratic maze of three and four-letter acronyms in the World:
    1. Medical Device Advisory Committee (MDAC)
    2. Medical Device Coordination Group (MDCG)
    3. Special Notified Bodies (SNBs)
    4. European Medicines Agency (EMA)
    5. Assessment Committee for Medical Devices (ACMD)
  3. This insane process will be expanded to a broader range of devices than just Class III devices:
    • Class III devices,
    • Implantable devices,
    • Devices utilizing non-viable tissues/cells of human/animal origin or their derivatives,
    • Devices incorporating a medicinal, and
    • Devices for delivery of a medicinal.

What Will the Future CE Marking Process Be?

I started to draft a process flow chart for the case-by-case process, but others have already done this, and I have zero confidence that the current draft will be adopted. I hope that the following elements of the compromise proposal are eliminated:

  1. Existence of a Medical Device Advisory Committee (MDAC)
  2. Existence of an Assessment Committee for Medical Devices (ACMD)
  3. Direct Involvement of the Commission in the CE Marking Process
  4. Independent review of CE Marking in parallel with Notified Bodies, special or otherwise

The following elements of the compromise proposal are probably here to stay:

  1. Regular Notified Bodies will no longer be allowed to approve CE Marking of high-risk devices.
  2. High-risk devices will be expanded beyond Class III devices—as indicated above.
  3. The role of the EMA will be expanded to include oversight of Special Notified Bodies.
  4. The proposed MDCG will be created to interpret regulations and recommend changes, but the Commission will control the MDCG.

The following element is missing from the draft legislation: a lack of emphasis on post-market monitoring of device safety and performance. Post-market monitoring is critical because no regulatory process will ever be perfect. Regulators need a mechanism for efficiently identifying unsafe devices that are on the market and removing them quickly.

Predictions for the Plenary Vote on October 22

The Plenary vote by the EU Parliament is the next step of the legislative process. As I stated in my earlier blog (http://bit.ly/ENVIVotepasses), I do not expect a vote in favor of these amendments on October 22. There are currently too many unanswered questions about the details, and the cost will be great for implementing the ill-conceived compromise. European politicians need time to develop a plan for creating each of the new organizations, time to clarify the compromises, and time to quantify the economic impact of implementing the EMDR—especially in a fragile European economy.

The failure to pass accept the draft legislation and send it on to the Council for adoption would be bad. Still, other legal experts (i.e., Erik Vollebregt) believe that the actual situation is worse. In his October 1 blog posting, Erik suggested that Parliament would not amend the draft legislation further and would approve it. This forces the Council to accept the Frankenstein-like compromise that rapporteur Dagmar Roth-Behrendt has facilitated (http://bit.ly/DraftLegislation), or the Council must see past the political circus of the EU Parliament and draft a new proposal that makes sense.

If you want to learn more about the European legislative process, the procedure is explained in the following infogram: http://bit.ly/EULegislativeProcedure. I hope for outright rejection of the draft legislation in the Plenary, but Erik is probably right. Insanity will probably win, and we will be forced to watch in horror as the legislative process proceeds to the European Council.

Posted in: CE Marking

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Risk Control Selection – Deviation #5 in ISO 14971

ISO 14971:2012 deviation #5 is specific to selecting risk control options and protective measures for CE Marking medical devices.

%name Risk Control Selection   Deviation #5 in ISO 14971If 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: the MDD, the AIMD, and the IVDD. Throughout these Essential Requirements, there is a requirement to reduce risks “as far as possible” (AFAP) by implementing risk controls. At one time, the expectation was for companies to implement state of the art concerning 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. There is no change to the content of Clauses 1 through 9. Instead, the European Commission identified seven content deviations between the ISO 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/Measures

Essential Requirements 1 and 2 require that risk control options are implemented for all risks before determining the acceptability of residual risks. The 2nd Essential requirement also requires manufacturers to implement all risk control options—unless the risk controls do not further reduce risk.iso14971 deviation 5 Risk Control Selection   Deviation #5 in ISO 14971

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 required if the risk is acceptable. There is an apparent contradiction between the intent of the Standard and the Directives.

If risk acceptability has no impact on whether you will implement risk controls, there is 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 the 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 specific failure modes.

The requirement to implement additional risk controls will increase the cost of devices that may have been relatively safe without the risk controls. For example, if a device is not intended to be implanted, it is a potential foreseeable misuse. 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., –a 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.

If you are interested in risk management training, Medical Device Academy offers a risk management training webinar.

Posted in: ISO 14971:2019 (Risk Management)

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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. The 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 do not apply to your device, you need to provide a justification. For example, ER 11 and its subparts do not apply to devices that do not emit radiation. This justification must be documented in the ERC for each subpart.

When you write your justification for the 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. Still, 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. Nevertheless, several significant changes 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. 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 new EU MDR regulations. You can download the MDD ERC Template and the new EU MDR Template. This new template also indicates the items that were recently modified (see the red lines).

Posted in: CE Marking

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What is the IEC 60601 Scope?

This blog will help you understand the IEC 60601 scope and to determine if and how the IEC 60601-1 Standard applies to your medical electrical product.  Definitions, third-party testing, etc. discussed.60601 300x274 What is the IEC 60601 Scope?One of the first questions clients ask before a project starts is, “Does this medical electrical product fall under IEC 60601-1?” Another common question clients ask is whether IEC 60601-1 applies to battery-operated medical devices. To answer these questions, we must review and understand the scope (sub-clause 1.1) of IEC 60601-1 to determine if and how the IEC 60601-1 Standard applies to a medical electrical product.

The title of IEC 60601-1:2005 (3rd edition) (http://bit.ly/IEC60601-1) is Medical electrical equipment – Part 1: General requirements for basic safety and essential performance. The IEC 60601-1 Standard itself states, “This…Standard applies to…MEDICAL ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT and MEDICAL ELECTRICAL SYSTEMS…referred to as ME EQUIPMENT and ME SYSTEMS.”

*Note: ALL CAPITAL LETTERS identifies a defined term for the IEC 60601 series of standards within this blog. “IEC” is an acronym for the International Electrotechnical Commission (http://bit.ly/IECwebsite). IEC is a non-profit, non-governmental international standards organization that prepares and publishes International Standards for all electrical, electronic, and related technologies.

All clause references in this blog are to both IEC 60601-1:2005 (3rd edition) and IEC 60601-1:2005 (3rd edition) + Amendment 1:2012, or the consolidated version IEC 60601-1:2012 (edition 3.1), but the actual text comes from edition 3.1.

Definitions 

The ME EQUIPMENT definition (sub-clause 3.63) is:

“…equipment…

a)    provided with not more than one connection to a particular SUPPLY MAINS, and

b)    intended by its MANUFACTURER to be used:

1)    in the diagnosis, treatment or monitoring of a PATIENT; or

2)    for compensation or alleviation of disease, injury, or disability.”

and “…having an APPLIED PART or transferring energy to or from the PATIENT or detecting such energy transfer to or from the PATIENT….”

Note: The above definition aligns well with the description of medical electrical devices in the European Medical Device Regulation.

From the definition above, we know that a device can have up to one power cord, or be hard-wired to the building’s power by one power line, and/or be battery powered.

We also need to understand the term APPLIED PARTS (sub-clause 3.8): “Part of…ME EQUIPMENT…in NORMAL USE necessarily comes into physical contact with the PATIENT for…” the device “…to perform its function.” Classification of the different types of APPLIED PARTS and other classifications (there are eight different classification criteria in the IEC 60601 Standard) need to be completed early in the process of setting up a test plan for design verification to determine the applicable testing requirements, and to develop an appropriate test plan.

Examples within Scope of IEC 60601-1:2005

Examples of electrical medical products fitting the definition above are broad and include battery-operated thermometers, gamma imaging systems, endoscopic cameras, and infusion pumps. IEC 60601-1 may also apply to many ACCESSORIES (sub-clause 3.3) used with ME EQUIPMENT.

Examples not within Scope of IEC 60601-1:2005

The scope of IEC 60601-1 also identifies which devices are not included in the IEC 60601 series:

  • “in vitro-diagnostic equipment…IEC 61010 series;
  • implantable parts of active implantable(s) … ISO 14708 series…;
  • medical gas pipeline systems…ISO 7396-1…”
IEC 60601 & ISO 13485

Design verification must confirm that design outputs (i.e., – product specifications) meet design inputs (e.g., – product must meet IEC 60601-1 requirements).

Many projects don’t identify all the applicable IEC 60601 standards. This could cause multiple nonconformances during an audit by the national regulatory body (i.e., FDA, EU Notified Body), or that you don’t obtain approval to sell and distribute your device from the national regulatory body.

A test plan, with multiple test protocols, is developed from the product specification. This test plan should identify all the requirements of the IEC 60601 series of standards, in addition to any other applicable standards and regulations that apply to the device before performing device testing.

Third-Party Testing

IEC testing can be performed by a third-party test house (i.e., – a safety certification agency, such as a UL, CSA, TÜV SÜD),  an independent test lab (i.e. Medical Equipment Compliance Association), or the manufacturer can conduct the testing if they have the proper equipment, trained personnel and a good understanding (i.e., – used the Standard on several projects, and successfully tested previous similar electrical medical device(s) by a third-party test lab, and been approved by a national regulatory body) of the Standard (s).

Design verification reports generated from the test process are either the applicable IEC 60601, and IEC 80601 series of standards test report forms or the manufacturer’s generated test reports.

If your company needs help with IEC 60601-1 gap analysis, preparation of the risk management file for the third edition, or training on the Standard, please contact Leo Eisner. We are also developing a webinar series on IEC 60601-1, 3rd edition.

Posted in: IEC 60601

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New Release of TGA’s 2013 Assessment of Orthopaedic Implant Revision Rates

%name New Release of TGA’s 2013 Assessment of Orthopaedic Implant Revision Rates

October 1, 2013—Today, the Therapeutics Goods Administration (TGA) published their assessment of the Australian Orthopaedic Association’s National Joint Replacement Registry (AOANJRR) report.

This data will be fundamental to orthopedic companies as a recent source of post-market surveillance for their products and competitors and the development of Post-Market Clinical Follow-up (PMCF) study protocols.

You can download the most recent annual report, and the thirteen supplemental reports, from the following website: (http://bit.ly/AOA2013Reports). As you can see from the list below, this release is more extensive than previous annual reports that did not include the supplementary reports. This should be especially important for spinal companies that will be reclassifying (http://bit.ly/gapanalysiscmda) their CE Marked products from Class IIb to Class III and submitting a Design Dossier in 2014/2015.

2013 Annual Report

  • Hip & Knee Arthroplasty (September 1999 to December 2012) – 213 pages

2013 Supplementary Reports

  1. Analysis of State and Territory Health Data All Arthroplasty – 19 pages
  2. Cement in Hip & Knee Arthroplasty – 15 pages
  3. Demographics and Outcomes of Elbow & Wrist Arthroplasty – 32 pages
  4. Demographics and Outcome of Ankle Arthroplasty – 11 pages
  5. Demographics and Outcomes of Shoulder Arthroplasty – 65 pages
  6. Demographics of Hip Arthroplasty – 28 pages
  7. Demographics of Knee Arthroplasty – 23 pages
  8. Demographics of Spinal Disc Arthroplasty – 11 pages
  9. Lay Summary 2013 Annual Report Hip and Knee Replacement – 13 pages
  10. Metal on Metal Total Conventional Hip Arthroplasty – 13 pages
  11. Mortality following Primary Hip and Knee Replacement – 10 pages
  12. Revision of Hip & Knee Arthroplasty – 21 pages
  13. Unispacer Knee Arthroplasty – 6 pages
Post-Market Clinical Data

The requirement to conduct PMCF studies is not new. Release of MEDDEV 2.12/2 rev 2 (http://bit.ly/PMCFMEDDEV) in 2012 increased the orthopedic industry’s awareness of this tool’s purpose and importance. In Europe, Notified Bodies are required to verify that manufacturers have included a PMCF protocol as part of the Post-Market Surveillance (PMS) plan. The requirement for PMCF studies is found in Annex X, 1.1c of the Medical Device Directive (http://bit.ly/M5MDD).

Most orthopedics manufacturers attempt to provide a justification for not conducting PMCF studies, yet implant recalls, and the prevalence of revision surgery have increased the scrutiny around these justifications. Hamish Forster (www.linkedin.com/pub/hamish-forster/19/643/494), a Notified Body auditor for BSI, wrote a white paper on “The Post-Market Imperative: Understanding the requirements for effective post-market clinical follow-up.” You can find his article on Orthoworld’s BoneZone website (http://bit.ly/BZPMCF).

If you are interested in reading more about the requirements for PMCF studies, you can also read the article that Dr. Dov Gal (http://bit.ly/DovGal) and I wrote for BoneZone (http://bit.ly/BZPMCFArticle) that was published on September 3, 2013.

Posted in: Clinical Studies & Post-Market Surveillance

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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 a 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 is 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 Therapeutic 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) the 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 before 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 before 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 merely “rubber stamp” the approval, but the approval process is less rigorous.

If your product is manufactured in the US, 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 a 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)

Posted in: CE Marking

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EU Takes Next Step in Approving Proposed Medical Device Regulations

Brussels, September 24-25, 2013

EC Press Release EU Takes Next Step in Approving Proposed Medical Device Regulations

This article provides analysis and interpretation of how the EU took the next step in approving the proposed medical device regulations.

Today, the EU Parliament Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) approved~900 amendments; estimated by Amanda Maxwell (http://bit.ly/AmandaMaxwell) in today’s Clinica article; to the proposed EU medical device regulations. Today’s approval by the ENVI Committee should be a warning sign that the new regulations will ultimately be approved, and this will be the most significant change in the medical device industry since the implementation of the QSR (http://bit.ly/QSRpreamble) in the 1990s.

The EU Commission originally released the amendments on September 26, 2012 (http://bit.ly/EUProposal).

Also, last night the EU Commission announced the adoption of two new stricter rules regarding Notified Bodies (NBs) and their role in CE Marking of medical devices. The lack of resistance to controversial elements within the proposal was shocking, and the coordinated release of new Notified Body requirements should be a warning sign to the medical device industry. The European CE Marking process will be changing soon.

Click here to download the above documents from the Medical Device Academy website.

EU Commission Press Release

The Commission’s press release announced two new documents. The first is regulation for NBs. The regulation is dependent upon four things: 1) formation of a Medical Device Advisory Committee (MDAC), 2) formation of a Medical Device Coordination Group (MDCG), 3) identification and qualification of Special Notified Bodies (SNBs), and 4) formation of an Assessment Committee for Medical Devices (ACMD). These new entities were passed in the compromise amendment, but these groups and committees will consist of representatives from multiple member states and multiple NBs. This type of matrix organization will require extensive planning and preparation. Until an implementation plan is well-defined, I don’t expect a plenary vote. For now, we have a compromise that was voted on by a committee.

The second document released by the Commission is the recommendation concerning NBs performing conformity assessments. The recommendation is not limited to just unannounced audits. There are three Annexes:

  1. Annex I – Product Assessment
  2. Annex II – Quality System Assessment
  3. Annex III – Unannounced Audits

You should also note that Annex II includes a section specific to “General advice in case of outsourcing of the production via subcontractors or suppliers.” This requirement will challenge companies that have outsourced manufacturing, and the wording of this section can easily be misinterpreted by an auditor and the NBs. Annex III also includes a requirement regarding the contractual arrangement between the NB and the manufacturer. This will force NBs to revise and execute new contracts with all of their clients to allow these new conformity assessment procedures to be fully implemented.

Eucamed’s Political Positioning

On January 30, 2013, Eucamed released an industry position paper on the proposed regulations (http://bit.ly/EucamedPositionPaper). In general, the position paper supported the proposal. However, the position paper also states that it is in support of regulations that:

  • ensures timely access to the latest innovative technologies, and
  • maintains an environment that encourages and keeps research and innovation in Europe.

On September 12, 2013, Eucamed released the results of an industry survey (http://bit.ly/CostofEURegs) stating that the cost of the proposed regulations would be 17.5 Billion Euros. The details of the survey indicate that the implementation of the Unique Device Identifier (UDI) system, improved labeling, and clinical performance data will require a 7.5 billion Euro investment. Also, industry survey respondents indicated that an additional 2.5 million Euro investment would be needed for each new Class III device that is required to undergo the proposed Scrutiny process in Article 44. The release of the Eucamed survey was only six days before the rescheduled ENVI vote on September 18, 2013—which was delayed for the third time until today.

Next Step in the Proposed Medical Device Regulations Approval Process

Now that the amended proposal has passed the vote, the next step is the plenary vote. This is scheduled for October 22, 2013, but there is some discussion as to whether the plenary vote should occur within 21 days of the ENVI vote to comply with a previous legal ruling. October 22 does not give Parliament adequate time to make any significant revisions to the compromise amendments—let alone 21 days. Therefore, I DO NOT expect the plenary vote to pass. I do not expect a vote. I expect Eucamed and industry lobbyists to be busy during the next few weeks. Opponents of the regulations will focus on three failures of the compromise amendment:

  1. the implementation cost is not acceptable during a European economic crisis
  2. the scrutiny mechanism in Article 44 of the proposal has the potential to delay CE Marking of Class IIb and Class III device by an additional 3-6 months, and the scrutiny process is guaranteed to result in more conservative NB recommendations
  3. the Europeans do not want to hear a great sucking sound as research and clinical study dollars are rapidly moved from Europe to more favorable nations
Why is there a Rush?

European elections were in 2014. The government officials in the office want to approve the regulations before the elections, but it’s not going to happen. To address the public concern related to the PIP scandal (http://bit.ly/MHRAReport) where industrial silicone was fraudulently used for breast implants, the EU Commission has finally taken actions they promised:

  1. NBs are being re-evaluated according to far more stringent regulations (download Commission Implementing Regulation IP-13-854 from our website),
  2. Two NBs are no longer allowed to issue new certificates, and
  3. Recommendations for conducting unannounced inspections are released (yesterday), and NBs are conducting unannounced inspections (11 so far, and 19 by the end of the year).

This is significant progress, but the regulations are missing a mechanism from the scrutiny process resulting in CE Marking delays that would impact future investment in Europe and timely access to the latest medical devices. Parliament also needs time for a rebuttal of the Eucamed industry survey claiming high costs of implementation.

My prediction is that we will not see a vote for approval in Parliament on October 22. However, today’s approval by the ENVI Committee should be a warning sign. The new regulations will ultimately be approved, and this will be the most significant change in the medical device industry since the implementation of the QSR (http://bit.ly/QSRpreamble) in the 1990s.

Medical companies should be paying more attention to the proposed regulations. To comply, you will need to make significant changes to your supplier quality agreements and your Technical Documentation (i.e., – Technical File/Design Dossier). You should be drafting a quality plan for the implementation of these changes to your quality system now because it will take you more than a year to achieve compliance with these changes.

For additional information, visit the Europa website: http://bit.ly/ECUpdates.

Posted in: CE Marking

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Implementing Design Controls – 10 Steps

The article explains ten steps of implementing design controls, including design plans, design inputs, design review, verification protocols, and risk management.
waterfall fda Implementing Design Controls   10 Steps

FDA Guidance for Implementing Design Controls

The diagram above is called the “Application of Design Controls to Waterfall Design Process.” The FDA introduced this diagram in 1997 in the design controls guidance document. However, the original source of the diagram was Health Canada.

This diagram is one of the first slides I use for every design control course that I teach because the diagram visually displays the design controls process. The design controls process, defined by Health Canada and the US FDA, is equivalent to the design and development section found in ISO 13485 and ISO 9001 (i.e., – Clause 7.3). Seven sub-clauses comprise the requirements of these ISO Standards:

  • 7.3.1 – Design Planning
  • 7.3.2 – Design Inputs
  • 7.3.3 – Design Outputs
  • 7.3.4 – Design Reviews
  • 7.3.5 – Design Verification
  •  7.3.6 – Design Validation
  • 7.3.7 – Design Changes

In addition to the seven sub-clauses found in these ISO Standards, the FDA Quality System Regulation (QSR) also includes additional requirements in the following sub-sections of 21 CFR 820.30: a) general, h) design transfer, and J) Design History File (DHF).

Implementing Design Controls: A Complex Process

Even though the requirement for Design Controls has been in place for 16 years, there are still far too many design teams that struggle with understanding these requirements. Medical device regulations are complex, but design controls are the most complex process in any quality system. The reason for this is that each of the seven sub-clauses represents a mini-process that is equivalent in complexity to CAPA root cause analysis. Many companies choose to create separate work instructions for each sub-clause.

Medical Device Academy’s training philosophy is to distill processes down to discrete steps that can be absorbed and implemented quickly. We use independent forms to support each step, and develop training courses with practical examples, instead of writing a detailed procedure(s). The approach we teach removes complexity from your design control procedure. Instead, we rely upon the structure of step-by-step forms completed at each stage of the design process.

10 Ways for Implementing Design Controls

1. Design plans are just a plan. You can and should change that plan. This is stated in both Clause 7.3.1 of the ISO Standards, and Section 21 CFR 820.30b of the FDA QSR. You can make your plan as detailed as you need to, but I recommend starting simple and adding detail. Your first version of a design plan should include the following tasks: 

  • Identification of the regulatory pathway-based upon the device risk classification and applicable harmonized standards.
  • Development of a risk management plan
  • Approval of your design plan (1st design review) 
  • Initial hazard identification
  • Documentation and approval of design inputs (2nd design review) 
  • Risk control option analysis
  • Reiterative development of the product design
  • Risk analysis 
  • Documentation and approval of design outputs (3rd design review) 
  • Design verification and validation and risk control verification 
  • Clinical evaluation and risk/benefit analysis
  • Development of post-market surveillance plan with a post-market risk management plan
  • Development of a draft Device Master Record(DMR) /TF Index
  • Commercial release (4th and final design review)
  • Regulatory approval and closure of the Design History File (DHF
  • Review lessons learned and initiate actions to improve the design process 

2. Design inputs need to be requirements verified through the use of a verification protocol. If you identify external standards for each design input, you will have an easier time completing the verification activities, because verification tests will be easier to identify. Medical Device Academy has written more on this topic in a previous blog posting.

3. Design outputs are drawings and specifications. Ensure you keep them updated and control the changes. When you finally approve the design, this is the “design freeze.” 

4. Design reviews should have defined deliverables. I recommend designing a form for documenting the design review, which identifies the deliverables for each design review. The form should also define the minimum required attendees by function. Other design review attendees should be identified as optional—rather than required reviewers and approvers. If your design review process requires too many people, this will have a long-term impact upon review and approval of design changes. 

5. Design verification protocols should be standardized instead of being project-specific. Information regarding traceability to lots of calibrated equipment ID and test methods should be included as a variable that is entered manually into a blank space when the protocol is executed. The philosophy behind this approach is to create a protocol once and repeat it forever. This results in a verification process that is consistent and predictable, but it also eliminates the need for review and approval of the protocol for each new project. 

6. Design validation should be more than bench testing. Ensure that animal models, simulated anatomical models, finite element analysis, and human clinical studies are considered. 

7. Design transfer is not a single event in time. Transfer begins with the release of your first drawing or specification to purchasing and ends with the commercial release of the product. 

8. Do not keep the DHF open after commercial release. All changes after that point should be under production controls, and changes should be documented in the (DMR)/Technical File (TF). 

9. Your DMR Index should perform a dual function of also meeting technical documentation requirements for other counties, such as Canada and Europe. 

10. Audit your design control process to identify opportunities for improvement and preventive actions. Audits should include a review of the design process metrics, and you may consider establishing quality objectives for the improvement of the design process. This last step, and the standardization of design verification protocols in step five (5), are discussed in further detail in another blog by Medical Device Academy.

More Information Regarding Implementing Design Controls

If you are interested in design control training, Rob Packard will be teaching a Design Controls Training Webinar on November 2, 2018.

Posted in: Design Control

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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 means, what its purpose is related to medical devices and regulatory requirements, if applicable.

To facilitate trade throughout the European Economic Area (EEA), products need to be 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 the 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 the 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 identify 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 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 products 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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Risk Classification Process for Health Canada Device Licensing

Author reviews considerations of the risk classification process for Health Canada device licensing, including a review of Health Canada guidance documents.

Last week, I was visiting a client who was told that their device is a higher risk device classification (i.e., – Class IV) in Canada than it is in Europe (i.e., – Class IIa). Although Canada has its own device classification rules, there are many similarities with European Classifications for CE Marking. A few months ago, I posted a gap analysis (http://bit.ly/gapanalysiscmda) comparing the classification rules in the current MDD (http://bit.ly/M5MDD) to the new classification rules in the proposed European Device Regulations (http://bit.ly/EUProposal). Now, let’s review the Canadian classification rules versus the current European classification rules.

Overview of the European and Canadian Medical Device Classification Rules

There are four European and Canadian medical device classifications. Class I, IIa, IIb, and III are the European classifications, while Class I, II, III, and IV are the Canadian classifications. The Canadian classification rules are located on pages 54-57 of the Canadian Medical Device Regulations (http://bit.ly/FindCMDR).

canada class blog Risk Classification Process for Health Canada Device Licensing

There are 16 risk-based classification rules, with a similar format and organization to the 18 risk-based classification rules in the MDD. Just a glance at the table above reveals that the classification rules for Europe and Canada are similar. However, a closer comparison between the two regulations shows that Rules 1-14 in the CMDR match-up with part or all of a corresponding European classification. Only rules 15 and 16 do not have a corresponding European classification rule.

How to Write a Classification Rationale for Health Canada

Two weeks ago, I wrote a blog (http://bit.ly/riskclass) on how to write a classification rationale for CE Marking of Medical Devices. That blog made use of the European guidance document for the classification of medical devices (http://bit.ly/EUClassification). For Canadian Medical Device License Applications, there is a different guidance document (http://bit.ly/CMDRClassificationGuidance). However, if you already have a European device classification, I recommend the following strategy:

  1. Identify the equivalent classification rule in the CMDR
  2. Write a classification rationale using the rule you identified in the CMDR
  3. Send your classification rationale to the Canadian Medical Device Licensing Division for verification (http://bit.ly/CanadianMDL)

If you have any trouble with step 1, you might try doing a keyword search of an electronic version. For example, the word “gases” in rule 2 of Annex IX in the MDD only appears once in the CMDR classification rules—in rule 5. An alternate approach to identifying the classification is to search Health Canada’s MDALL (http://bit.ly/CanadianMDALL) medical device licensing database for a competitor’s equivalent product. If you don’t know the name of competitor products, you can also use Health Canada’s keyword index (http://bit.ly/CanadianKeywordIndex).

Get Health Canada’s Input

Once you have written your classification rationale, then you should email the classification rationale to Health Canada’s licensing division (http://bit.ly/CanadianMDL). Help with identifying the proper device classification in the CMDR does not require paying a consultant thousands of dollars, because Health Canada will not charge you for this service, and they typically respond within 7-10 days. Their response will confirm you have identified the correct classification for your product, or you will receive an explanation of why another rule is a better choice.

Regulatory Pathway Identification

Medical Device Academy offers a standardized service for identifying the regulatory pathway for device submissions to the United States, Europe, and Canada. We recommend that companies prepare a regulatory pathway document during the initial design planning stage (ISO 13485, Clause 7.3.1) because the harmonized standards identified will become your design inputs (ISO 13485, Clause 7.3.2). The Canadian pathway is always the easiest and least expensive of the three markets mentioned.

Do Not Ask Your CMDCAS Registrar

Your company’s ISO 13485 registrar should NOT attempt to participate in the above classification process. Health Canada specifically tells all CMDCAS (http://bit.ly/CMDCAS) auditors to instruct companies to contact Health Canada directly. The CMDCAS auditor is only supposed to verify that the company has a documented licensing process and documented classification rationale. Health Canada’s Device Licensing Division assesses the accuracy of the rationale.

You may also be interested in joining the LinkedIn Group I manage on this topic (i.e.,- CMDCAS): http://bit.ly/CMDCASLinkedInGroup.

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