medical device testing services

Medical Device Directive

Medical device manufacturers have to comply with stringent requirements to access the European market. These requirements will be tightened over the next few years.

Smithers Rapra can can assist throughout your medical device product development cycle from concept, material selection, design for manufacture, manufacture, packaging (primary and secondary) through to the distribution testing for supply chain validation. Find out more about our support for Medical Devices

The medical device directive 93/42/EEC will be recast as a Regulation and will impose clear and detailed rules that ensure that legal requirements are implemented at the same time throughout the European Union. Casting the document as a Regulation will also help avoid divergent transposition by Member States, as has been seen with the IVD, thus simplifying matters.


The current EU regulatory framework for medical devices consists of the three Council Directives;

  • 93/42/EEC, concerning medical devices (the Medical Device Directive, MDD)
  • 90/385/EEC, relating to Active Implantable Medical Devices (AIMD)
  • 98/79/EC, on In Vitro Diagnostic Devices (IVD)

There are also a number of amending directives relating to this framework.

It is proposed to combine the AIMD and MDD (and amendments) into one new Regulation. The IVD will be revised separately.

Purpose behind the changes:
  • Giving patients, consumers and healthcare professionals confidence in the devices they might use each day.
  • Allowing industry to bring safe, effective and innovative products to market in a quick and efficient manner.
  • To increase the availability of innovative products, to attract investors, to help define/anticipate procedures and estimate costs.
The Regulation will address the following:
  • Improved coordination and cooperation between Member States.
  • More effective governance structure of Member State experts through the Medical Device Co-ordination Group (MDCG).
  • More traceability with unique device identification (UDI).
  • Alignment with the new legislative framework.
  • More rigorous designation and audit of notified bodies.
  • Increased regulation for reprocessing of single use devices.
  • Clearer requirements for clinical evidence.
  • More information available on the quality and safety devices in the market.
  • Central reporting of serious incidents and field safety corrective actions.
  • Manufacturers are to provide at least one qualified person who possesses expert knowledge in the field of medical devices.
  • Extension to invasive and implantable devices which have no medical purpose.
  • Obligations to authorized representatives, importers and distributors.
Changes include:
  • Unannounced inspections by notified bodies to medical device manufacturers and their critical subcontractors.
  • Greater responsibility for Contract Manufacturing Organisations (CMOs) for final product quality.
  • Clearer requirements for Clinical Evidence.
  • Manufacturers of medical devices are to provide a ‘qualified person’ who possesses expert  knowledge.
  • CMOs must have access to technical documentation and have a suitable management system.
  • Ensuring EU harmonized standards are used, such as the Quality System standard ISO13485 and Risk Management Standard ISO14971.

The regulation goes upstream in the supply chain. It clearly involves Contract Manufacturing Organisations (CMOs) in the final product quality. This defines critical sub-contractors, which design, manufacture or perform services for a part of the medical device, and critical suppliers, which supply essential components as raw materials and moulded parts. Those organisations must keep under the control of their order giver and his Nominated Body, which must perform planned and unannounced audit in their premises too.

Example: If a medical device manufacturer purchases plastic component parts from a molder and assembles them into a medical device at the manufacturers premises, the manufacturer is obligated that their notified body audits the molder to the same quality system standards that they comply with.

Timetable for Implementation:

The proposed Regulation was published in September 2012, and through the EU legislation process of the European Commission (EC), European Parliament (EP) and Council of the European Union; proposals, amendments and negotiations will provide a final document by the end of 2014.

It is expected that the Regulation will be adopted in 2014. Delegated Acts which build onto the adopted Regulation could be between 2014 and 2019. 2018 might be the date of application and the implementation deadline for member states.

Find out about our expert support for Medical Devices

Smithers Rapra has over 90 years' experience in providing expert plastic and rubber services including consulting, accredited chemical analysis and physical testing. This puts Smithers Rapra in an exceptional position to provide comprehensive services to the pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical and medical industries in support of the new Medical Device Regulations.

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