On 26 May 2021, the Medical Device Regulation (EU) 2017/745 (MDR) began to apply following a 4-year transition period from the previous Active Implantable Medical Device Directive 90/385/EEC (AIMDD) and Medical Device Directive 93/42/EEC (MDD).
The ‘Transitional Provisions’ within Article 120 of the MDR govern this switch and lay out specific derogations from the Regulation which has had a great impact on how and when medical device manufacturers transition. In fact, many manufacturers have been able to benefit from these derogations, allowing them more time to meet the requirements of the MDR.
Paragraph 2 of Article 120 focusses on the validity of certificates issued in accordance with the MDD and AIMDD prior to 25 May 2017. Certificates which have been issued before this data will remain valid until the end of their validity period, with the exception of those certificates issued in accordance with Annex 4 of the AIMDD or Annex IV of the MDD, which become void 27 May 2022. Furthermore, the validity date for AIMDD and MDD certificates issued after 25 May 2017 shall not exceed 27 May 2024. The Notified Body who has issued the AIMDD or MDD certificate will continue to be responsible for the surveillance relating to those medical devices.
Article 120 paragraph 3 lays out the key derogations to MDR, it states:
By way of derogation from Article 5 of this Regulation, a device which is a class I device pursuant to Directive 93/42/EEC, for which the declaration of conformity was drawn up prior to 26 May  and for which the conformity assessment procedure pursuant to this Regulation requires the involvement of a notified body, or which has a certificate that was issued in accordance with Directive 90/385/EEC or Directive 93/42/EEC and that is valid by virtue of paragraph 2 of this Article, may be placed on the market or put into service until 26 May 2024, provided that from 26 May  it continues to comply with either of those Directives, and provided there are no significant changes in the design and intended purpose. However, the requirements of this Regulation relating to post-market surveillance, market surveillance, vigilance, registration of economic operators and of devices shall apply in place of the corresponding requirements in those Directives.
There are several implications of this paragraph which shall be broken down below.
If a device which has been classified as class I under the MDD will now require Notified Body intervention under the new classification rules of the MDR (annex VIII), the manufacturer shall have until 26 May 2024 to meet the new requirements, provided that its MDD Declaration of Conformity was drawn up prior to 26 May 2021. Reusable surgical instruments and software are typical examples of devices which have been classified as class I under the MDD and which will now require the involvement of a Notified Body and which may benefit from the extended transitional period introduced by Article 120(3). The definition of a reusable surgical instrument is provided in Annex VIII Chapter I Section 2.3.
However, as with most good things, certain terms and conditions will apply:
- The device must continue to comply with the Directives from 26 May 2021.
- There can be no significant changes to the device design or intended purpose from 26 May 2021.
- The MDR requirements within the following sections shall apply from 26 May 2021:
- Post-Market Surveillance [Article 83-86, 92, Annex III].
- Market Surveillance [Article 93-100].
- Vigilance [Article 87-92].
- Registration of economic operators and devices [Article 31 and 29].
What constitutes a significant change? The EU’s Medical Device Coordination Group (MDCG) released guidance document ‘MDCG 2020-3’ which explains in some detail what is considered to be a significant change in relation to Article 120(3). The MDCG guidance provides a series of flowcharts which may be followed to determine whether the change to design or intended purpose would be considered significant or not. Such changes should always be discussed on a case-by-case basis with the relevant Notified Body, however, the following changes would not be deemed significant:
- Reductions or limitations of the intended purpose.
- Design changes related to corrective actions assessed and accepted by the Competent Authority.
As a result of Article 120(3), medical devices classified as class I under the EU MDD and which will be classified as class I under the EU MDR and which are not covered by a valid CE certificate (e.g. sterile or measuring class I devices) will need to meet the requirements and obligations of the MDR from 26 May 2021. This implies that ‘simple’ class I device manufacturers will not be able to place their MDD-compliant medical devices on the EU market until they have satisfied the requirements of the MDR.
For manufacturers who are benefitting from the extended transition period introduced by Article 120(3), you will still need to comply with certain sections of the MDR, as specified above. The following technical documentation updates will be required as a minimum:
- Updating the Post-Market Surveillance (PMS) Plan in accordance with Annex III.
- Developing a PMS Report or a Periodic Safety Update Report (PSUR).
- Updating existing procedures on vigilance to meet the requirements in Chapter VII Section 2. Of note is that ‘other’ adverse events shall be reported within 15 days rather than 30 days under the previous Directives.
These changes must be implemented within the technical documentation and QMS from 26 May 2021.
Article 120(3) also implies that all manufacturers placing medical devices on the EU market for the first time, will need to immediately meet the requirements and obligations as laid out in the EU MDR for their medical device.
How can Advena help you?
Advena has over 20 years of professional experience within the medical device industry as both a leading EU Authorised Representative and regulatory consultants. We are able to guide you through the complexities of EU regulation and help you place compliant devices on the market:
- Regulation Gap Analysis for Directive-compliant technical documentation and QMS.
- Regulation-compliant technical documentation.
- Regulation-compliant QMS.
- EU Authorised Representative service under the EU Regulations.