This article outlines an EU MDR quality plan for compliance with European Regulation 2017/745 for medical devices by the May 26, 2020 transition deadline.
Biggest MDR quality plan mistakes
Implementing an MDR quality plan is not just about updating your technical file and the procedures specific to CE Marking of medical devices. You need to make sure that you have planned to provide adequate resources for the successful implementation of your plan. Resources fall into four major categories, and all four should be addressed in a formal MDR quality plan that you have reviewed and approved during a management review meeting (i.e., ISO 13485:2016, Clause 5.6.3d). First, you need to provide adequate training. Second, you need to provide adequate equipment–such as UDI printing software and an electronic quality system database. Third, you need to provide adequate personnel. Fourth, you need to revise and update your quality system procedures.
European companies concentrated enormous resources in 2018 to prepare for the implementation of the EU Regulations in 2020. This may seem early, but most of those companies are realizing they should have started in 2017–immediately after Regulation 2017/745 was approved by the European Parliament and Council. In contrast, most companies in the USA were focusing on ISO 13485:2016 certification and MDSAP certification. Unfortunately, many CEOs were told that there is a “soft-transition,” and they have until 2024 to implement the new regulations. While it is true that most CE Certificates issued by notified bodies will be valid until their expiration date, and that date could be as late as May 25, 2024, it is not true that companies have until 2024 implement the new regulations. Quality system requirements in Article 10 of the MDR, and compliance with the MDR for economic operators, must be implemented by May 26, 2020. Any medical devices that are being reclassified will require full implementation by May 26, 2020, as well. Finally, notified bodies cannot renew 100% of the CE Certificates on May 25, 2020, to give manufacturers the full 4-year transition for certificates. Your certificate will expire based upon the certificate renewal cycle that is already established.
Required procedures for your EU MDR quality plan
You might not know that ISO 13485:2016 certification is not required for CE Marking of medical devices. Although ISO 13485 certification is the most popular way for companies to demonstrate quality system compliance with EU regulations, the actual requirement is to comply with the thirteen procedural requirements in Article 10 of EU Regulation 2017/745. Specifically, those thirteen procedures are:
- Conformity assessment procedure / significant change procedure – SYS-025
- Identification of safety and performance requirements (i.e., Essential Requirements Checklist) – FRM-038
- Management responsibilities – SYS-003
- Resource management, including suppliers – SYS-004 and SYS-011
- Risk management – SYS-010
- Clinical evaluation – SYS-041
- Product realization, including design, production, and service – SYS-008, SYS-012, and SYS-013
- UDI requirements – SYS-039
- Post-market surveillance – SYS-019
- Communication with competent authorities notified bodies and other economic operators – SYS-049 (new requirement)
- Vigilance reporting, including serious incidents and field safety corrective actions – SYS-036 and SYS-020
- Corrective and preventive actions – SYS-024
- Monitoring and measurement of processes – SYS-017
Note: If you are interested in one of the procedures listed above that does not have a hyperlink, please contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The procedures are available, and the links will be provided during the next two weeks. The only exception is SYS-026. That is a new procedure in draft format, and it will be the subject of a future blog. Medical Device Academy will be revising each of the above procedures for compliance with EU Regulation 2017/745 in accordance with the MDR quality plan that we have outlined in this blog article. These procedures are all compliant with ISO 13485:2016, and updates for compliance with the EU MDR will be made available at no additional charge.
The priority of requirements for MDR quality plan
There are seven major changes required for compliance with the European Regulation 2017/745. These priorities are listed in order of highest to lowest effort and cost that will be required to comply, rather than the chronological order. First, some medical devices are being reclassified. Second, new CE certificates must be issued under the new conformity assessment processes. Third, technical documentation must be updated to meet Annex II of Regulation 2017/745. Fourth, post-market surveillance documentation must be updated to comply with Annex III of Regulation 2017/745. Fifth, specific documentation must be uploaded to the Eudamed. Specifically, manufacturers must upload UDI data, labeling, and periodic safety update reports (PSUR). Sixth, all economic operators must be registered with Eudamed and comply with Regulation 2017/745, or new economic operators will need to be selected. Seventh, quality system procedures will need to be updated to comply with Regulation 2017/745.
The implementation timeline for MDR quality plan
If any of your devices are being reclassified, you will need to implement all of the above changes before the May 26, 2020 transition date. For example, reusable medical instruments are currently Class I medical devices, and manufacturers utilize Annex VII of the MDD as the conformity assessment process. Under EU Regulation 2017/745, these reusable instruments will require notified body involvement to issue a CE Certificate. This is a lot of work to complete in 17 months (i.e., 513 days and counting), and notified bodies will have a large backlog of technical files to review for existing customers before they can review documentation for new customers.
If your company already has CE Certificates for your medical devices, and none of your devices are being reclassified, you will need to implement only the sixth and seventh items listed above before the May 26, 2020 deadline. Uploading information to Eudamed is likely to be extended beyond the May 26, 2020 deadline, and the transition may be staggered by risk classification–just as the US FDA did for UDI implementation in the USA. The second, third, and fourth changes listed above will require compliance before your existing CE Certificate(s) expire. The best-case scenario could be four (4) years after the transition deadline.