In Vitro Diagnostic Device Regulation (IVDR)

The new In Vitro Diagnostic Device Regulation (EU) 2017/746 was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 5 May 2017. 

The IVD Regulation is significantly different to the IVD Directive, including changed classification rules and requirements for conformity assessment. It is intended to strengthen the current approval system for in vitro diagnostics, making substantial changes to the existing IVD Directive (98/79/EC) legislation, first introduced in 1998.

Introduction to the IVD Regulation 

Due to constant scientific and technological progress, the IVD Directive 98/79/EC is no longer ‘fit for purpose’. Substantial divergences in the interpretation and application of the rules have emerged overtime, thus undermining the main objectives of the Directive. 

The proposed revision, published by the European Commission aims to provide a robust, transparent and sustainable regulatory framework for in vitro diagnostic medical devices. 

The revision is being introduced as a Regulation instead of a Directive. A Regulation has been determined to be the most appropriate legal instrument, because it imposes clear and detailed rules which do not give room for divergent transposition by member states. Moreover, a Regulation ensures that legal requirements are implemented at the same time throughout the Union.

New requirements 

The IVDR introduces a new risk-rule classification system based on the Global Harmonization Task Force (GHTF) rules for classification which, for the first time, takes patient impact into consideration.

This change to the classification system will have an impact on all manufacturers of IVDs. The majority of IVDs are currently self-declare devices but under the new regulation about 80% of IVDs require some form of conformity assessment by a Notified Body.

Under the IVD Directive approximately 80% of IVD’s on the market in the EU are self-declared devices where the manufacturer has sole responsibility for meeting the requirements of the directive. Under the new regulation 80% of IVD’s will require some form of conformity assessment by a Notified Body.

Scope of Regulated IVD Products

The Regulation clarifies and expands the scope of regulated IVD devices to include:

  • Tests providing information about the predisposition of a medical condition or disease 
  • Tests providing information to predict treatment response to medicines 
  • Medical software, which is explicitly mentioned in the definition of IVDs 
  • Devices manufactured and used within a health institution - also required to meet the general safety and performance requirements.

Classification and conformity assessment 

In the new classification system, IVD devices will be divided into four Classes of risk: A (lowest risk), B, C and D (highest risk). By using the seven classification rules, devices will be divided into one of the four classes that will dictate notified body involvement. 

The conformity assessment procedure for lowest-risk Class A devices will be the sole responsibility of the manufacturer. Class B, C, and D devices are characterised by increasing risk levels and will all require notified body involvement. 

Identification and traceability 

Manufacturers must fit their devices with a Unique Device Identification (UDI).  Additionally, manufacturers of high-risk Class C and D devices are to make publicly available a summary of safety and performance with key elements of the supporting clinical data.

Performance evaluation report 

To demonstrate conformity with the general safety and performance requirements, a performance evaluation report, proportionate to the risk Class, is required.

Vigilance and market surveillance

An electronic portal will be introduced, where manufacturers can report serious incidents, safety corrective actions, field safety notices and periodic summary reports.

Notified Bodies 

The position of notified bodies in relation to manufacturers will be significantly strengthened. They have a right and duty to carryout unannounced factory inspections and to conduct physical or laboratory tests on devices. The regulation also requires rotation of the notified body’s personnel involved in the assessment of IVDs at appropriate intervals to strike a reasonable balance between the knowledge and experience required to carry out thorough assessments. 

Timetable for introduction and transition 

The new regulation was published on 5 May 2017 and entered into force on 25 May 2017. The IVDR will become applicable five years after its entry into force.

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