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New manual on borderline and classification for medical devices

Medical devices regulation

A new manual on borderline and classification for medical devices was issued on September 2023, getting this document to a version 3.

Determining whether a given product falls under the definition of a medical device and the application of the classification rules fall within the competence of the authorities of the Member States where the product is on the market. However, when different interpretations of EU legislation occur, public health may be put at risk and the internal market distorted. As both are matters of concern to the Member States and the Commission, it essential to facilitate a dialogue among regulators. Appropriate participation of various stakeholders should also be ensured. 

This document, hereafter called the Manual, records the agreements reached by the Member State members of the Borderline and Classification Working Group (BCWG) following the exchanges under the Helsinki Procedure under Regulation (EU) 2017/745 on medical devices (the MDR) and Regulation (EU) 2017/746 on in vitro diagnostic medical devices (the IVDR). The purpose and operation of the Helsinki procedure is described in the dedicated document here. The BCWG is chaired by the European Commission and consists of representatives of competent authorities from all Member States with a number of stakeholder associations as observers. 

Note1: The BCWG is a sub-group of the Medical Device Coordination Group set up according to Article 103 of Regulation (EU) 2017/745 and Article 98 of Regulation (EU) 2017/746.

Note2: please check our article presenting the consolidated version of the Medical Device Regulation (MDR 2017/745), with amendment EU 2020-561 of 23 April 2020, with amendment EU 2023-607 of 15 March 2023, and with an interactive table of content. Link to the article here.

The aspects concerning the borderline between medical devices and other types of products, also known as qualification of a product, are generally governed by Article 4 Regulatory status of products of the MDR and the corresponding Article 3 of the IVDR. Borderline cases are those for which it is not clear from the outset whether a given product is a medical device, or an in vitro diagnostic medical device (IVD), or not. Various paragraphs under Article 1 Subject matter and scope of both Regulations are also relevant. They exclude certain types of products from the scope of the Regulations. Where a given product does not fall within the definition of medical device or is excluded from their scope, other EU or national legislation may be applicable. This Manual will however not provide indications to that effect. 

The Manual should be read in conjunction with other documents providing guidance on borderline, such as MDCG 2022-5 Guidance on borderline between medical devices and medicinal products under Regulation (EU) 2017/745 on medical devices and MDCG 2019-11 Qualification and classification of software - Regulation (EU) 2017/745 and Regulation (EU) 2017/746. 

Once a product is qualified as a medical device, a certain risk class will be assigned to it, namely I, IIa, IIb, III. For a product qualified as an IVD, the risk classes are A, B, C and D. The aspects concerning classification of medical devices are governed by MDR Article 51 Classification of devices and Annex VIII Classification rules. For IVDR the corresponding references are Article 47 and Annex VIII. In the context of this Manual, classification cases are those for which the competent authorities of the Member States identify a difficulty in the uniform application of the classification rules.

The Manual should be read in conjunction with other documents providing guidance on classification, such as MDCG 2021-24 Guidance on classification of medical devices and MDCG 2020-16 Guidance on classification rules for in vitro diagnostic medical devices under Regulation (EU) 2017/746. 

Other relevant MDCG guidance documents may be published here.  This Manual does not relieve national competent authorities from their duty to issue decisions in the areas of qualification and classification for individual products taking into account all its characteristics on a case-by-case basis, while acting under the supervision of the courts.

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Since the arrival of Regulation 2017/745, new requirements are requested and form part of the documentation to be presented to the notified body (e.g. review of the in-depth clinical evaluation, PMS procedure, QC results from validation products, proof of staff skills, etc.).

CSDmed brings its expertise and a methodical approach to its clients, start-ups, manufacturers, importers and distributors of medical devices, thanks to a team of specialized experts and consultants, who will be able to address the MDR transition in its entirety.

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