As we approach one year to go before the application of Regulations (EU) 745/2017 (Medical Devices) and 746/2017 (In Vitro Diagnostic Medical Devices) (applicable in May 2020 and May 2022, respectively), the European Commission has updated its website to collate all of its guidance on the legislation. This includes a recently published series of nine non-binding practical reference guides, which is now available in a new section of the website entitled “Spread the word” – part of the Commission’s campaign to “inform as many stakeholders as possible about their roles and responsibilities under the new Regulations“. In particular, they consist of:

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As a New Year present to us all, on 3 January 2019, the MHRA published updated guidance on the regulation of medicines, medical devices and clinical trials in the event that the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019 without a deal, known as a “hard Brexit”.

Following publication of the technical notice in August 2018, which we considered in an earlier blog, a consultation was launched in order to seek views on the mechanics behind some of the proposals. The consultation ended on 1 November 2018; the responses were reviewed and the technical notice updated. However, the notice states in a number of places that further guidance will be published in due course.


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On 25 October 2018, the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) held in Case C-527/17 Boston Scientific that, where a medical device incorporates an ancillary drug substance, that substance will not be entitled to supplementary protection certificate (SPC) protection. That is the case even if the drug substance has been subjected to an evaluation of its safety, quality and efficacy that is analogous to the authorisation procedure for medicinal products, which are entitled to SPC protection.

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Earlier this month, the European Commission published a “rolling plan” for the implementation of the new Medical Devices Regulation (MDR) and In Vitro Diagnostics Regulation (IVDR). As we mentioned in our blog from last year, CAMD’s (Competent Authorities for Medical Devices) Implementation Taskforce published a high-level MDR/IVDR roadmap setting out how the Regulations will be implemented, and the order in which key guidance and clarification will be developed. Now, the Commission has published the rolling plan, which contains a list of the essential implementing acts and actions that need to be introduced, as well as providing information on expected timelines and the current state-of-play.

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On 12 October 2018, the MHRA issued Guidance for products without an intended medical purpose (Annex XVI) under the new Medical Device Regulation (EU 2017/745) providing guidance on the expansion of scope of the medical devices regime to include certain products which had been previously unregulated at EU level.

Article 1(2) of the Medical Devices Regulation (MDR), in force from 25 May 2017, explains that the MDR will regulate “certain groups of products without an intended medical purpose” as though they were medical devices.

There are currently six types of products in this category which are listed at Annex XVI of the MDR.


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In July, we considered the implications of the UK Government’s Brexit White paper, setting out its proposals for the UK’s ongoing relationship with the EU post-Brexit and how this would apply to the supply and manufacture of medicinal products and medical devices. Acknowledging the need for a contingency plan if no agreement can be reached, the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has now published guidance entitled “How medicines, medical devices and clinical trials would be regulated if there’s no Brexit deal“. Below, we set out the key points arising from that guidance.

Withdrawal Act

The regulation of medicines and medical devices in the UK is currently subject to both EU and UK legislation and oversight. For example, in relation to medicinal products, Directive 2001/83 and Regulation 726/2004, which govern marketing and supply in the EU, are implemented into UK law by the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 (HMR). For medical devices, Directives 93/42 (on medical devices), 98/79 (on in vitro medical devices) and 90/385 (on active implantable medical devices) set out the regulations in the EU, and are implemented in the UK through the Medical Devices Regulations 2002 (MDR). In addition, the new Regulations 2017/745 (on medical devices) and 2017/746 (on in vitro medical devices) will apply from 2020 and 2022, respectively.

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, full regulatory authority will pass to the UK, and the European legislation will cease to apply to the UK on 29 March 2019 (exit day), although UK legislation that implements EU law will remain in force. Under the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (EUWA), all existing EU rules will be converted into UK law at the moment of exit to the extent they are not already part of UK law.


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Data-driven technologies, particularly artificial intelligence and other complex algorithms, have the potential to enhance patient care and catalyse medical breakthroughs. However, these technologies are heavily reliant on data, which poses challenges in ensuring that patient information is handled in a safe, secure and legally compliant way.

In response to early issues with the deployment of artificial intelligence and other algorithmic tools in healthcare, on 5 September 2018 the UK Department of Health & Social Care (DH) published an Initial Code of Conduct for Developers and Suppliers of Data-driven Health and Care Technology (the Code). The Code is not legally binding but aims to raise standards by establishing best practices.


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Last week, MedTech Europe, the European trade association representing the medical technology industries, published a position paper calling on the European Commission, Parliament and EU Member States to extend the transition period under the Medical Devices Regulations (the MDR and the IVDR). As mentioned in one of our earlier blogs, the MDR and IVDR are due to take effect on 26 May 2020 and 26 May 2022 respectively. The position paper explains that the medical technology industry has “significant concerns” about the state of implementation of the Regulations, and the fact that if products are not re-certified before the date of application of the Regulations, they will not be able to be placed on the market, and the industry will be unable to provide life-saving and life-transforming products to patients.
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The Association of British HealthTech Industries (ABHI) has this week published an update to their Code of Ethical Business Practice for the recently rebranded “health technology” sector. The changes to the previous version, from May 2017, are mainly to the Q&A section, which provides further clarification to the substantive provisions of the Code. The Code itself has not (for the most part) changed.

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Yesterday, the UK Government finally published its White Paper setting out its position on the UK’s continued relationship with the EU post-Brexit. Theresa May has said it “delivers on the Brexit people voted for”, although others in Parliament disagree. While at a very early stage of the negotiations, and with no real indication of how the European Commission has received the White Paper, other than that it represents important progress for focusing the further discussions, we set out below the key points for the supply and manufacture of medicinal products and medical devices after Brexit.


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