IVDR: In Vitro Diagnostic Regulation within the European Union

Wendy Levine
August 3, 2022
IVDR: In Vitro Diagnostic Regulation within the European Union

What is the IVDR In Vitro Diagnostic Regulation?

The European Union’s In Vitro Diagnostic Regulation (IVDR) 2017/746 applies to IVD devices and came into force on May 26, 2022. The IVDR is a major change over the In Vitro Diagnostic Directive (IVDD), which it supersedes. The new regulation is designed to better protect patients and address changes in IVD technology through new requirements and stricter controls. As a Regulation, unlike a Directive, the IVDR becomes a requirement in every EU country on the same day, which means that compliance with the IVDR is paramount for market access within the EU.

Major changes in the IVDR 

The IVDR includes changes to IVD classification, increased documentation requirements, and UDI specifications. It is critical for manufacturers and their European representatives to understand and implement the new regulations as soon as possible. There is significant concern that notified bodies will not have sufficient resources to handle the increased need for their services.

The major changes between the IVDR and its predecessor, IVDD, are as follows:

Changes to the classification system

Under the IVDD only a small percentage of IVD products were assigned a higher risk classification (based on a predefined list of products). All other products were exempt from notified body oversight and allowed for manufacturers to self-certify through conformity procedures. Under the IVDD, only 10%-20% of IVD products were subject to notified body oversight, whereas, under the IVDR, 80%-90% of IVD products will be subjected to notified body oversight.

Unlike the IVDD, the IVDR defines 4 risk classes based on risk profile:

  • Class A: Lowest risk (e.g. specimen containers)
  • Class B: Low to moderate risk (e.g. pregnancy tests)
  • Class C: Moderate to high risk (e.g. cancer screening products)
  • Class D: High risk (e.g. HIV tests)

It is important that IVD manufacturers re-classify their products using the new classification rules as soon as possible. Notified body oversight is required for IVDs in class B through class D.

Increased technical documentation requirements

Under the IVDD, technical documentation requirements were vague and left largely to the discretion of the manufacturer. The IVDR, however, details specific requirements for the content of technical documentation. Annex I details the General Safety and Performance Requirements, Annex II details primary technical documentation requirements, and Annex III details requirements for technical documentation for post-market surveillance.

Unique Device Identification (UDI) requirements

IVDs now require UDI labeling and registration in the European Union Database of Medical Devices, more commonly known as EUDAMED, in the same way as other medical devices. A UDI must be assigned to all medical devices, with some exceptions for custom-made and investigational devices.

Each UDI consists of multiple elements, including a Basic UDI-DI (also known as “BUDI”), a device identifier (DI) with static device information, and a product identifier (PI) with dynamic information provided by the manufacturer (such as serial number and manufacturing date). In addition, manufacturers can now register their device in EUDAMED, though this is not yet required.

Quality management system requirements

All IVD manufacturers are expected to have a quality management system in place, even though only those manufacturing class B to D devices require certification of conformity assessments by a notified body.

Person Responsible for Regulatory Compliance (PRRC)

Manufacturers will now be required to designate at least one person to monitor compliance with regulatory requirements. A PRRC must be qualified by way of a relevant degree and a minimum of one year of professional experience, or at least 4 years of experience in medical device regulatory affairs or quality management. Note that smaller manufacturers do have the option to subcontract their PRRC functions, but one person cannot act as a PRRC for a manufacturer based outside of the EU and for an Authorized Representative. 

IVDR deadlines

Manufacturers who were able to self-declare conformity under the IVDD, but require a notified body under IVDR may continue to place IVDs on the market assuming they had issued a declaration of conformity prior to the original May 26, 2022 deadline, introduce no significant changes to the product, meet all post-market surveillance and vigilance requirements, and register in EUDAMED as specified in the IVDR. Assuming that these requirements are met, the new transition dates are as follows:

  • May 26, 2022 - All new devices and non-sterile self-declared devices
  • May 26, 2025 - Class D devices
  • May 26, 2026 - Class C devices
  • May 26, 2027 - Class B devices and Class A sterile devices

IVD regulations outside of the EU

This article is specific to requirements in the EU. It is important to note that other countries, such as the United States, have their own regulations related to In Vitro Diagnostics that are covered by the country’s medical device regulations. Each country with medical device regulations has its own classification scheme that may cause your device to be regulated in a different way. During the initial phase of planning for global commercialization of a product and throughout the product life cycle, it is imperative that you consider international regulations, their classification schemes, and the registrations that each country will require.   

For additional information, The ultimate guide to EU MDR and IVDR general safety and performance requirements and also The Ultimate Guide to EU MDR/IVDR UDI.

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