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UKCA Marking and Medical Devices

UKCA Marking and Medical Devices

For medical devices, the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) provides guidance on how medical devices are now being regulated. Medical devices being placed on the market in the UK must now follow the Medical Devices Regulations 2002 (SI 2002 No 618, as amended) (UK MDR). The UK MDR incorporates the requirements according to EU legislation for:

  • Active implantable medical devices, Directive 90/385/EEC (AIMDD)
  • General medical devices, Directive 93/42/EEC (MDD)
  • In vitro diagnostic medical devices, Directive 98/79/EC (IVDD)

Although the UKCA mark may be required to place medical devices on the market in GB, from 1 January 2021, CE marked devices are also permitted. As of 1 July 2023, current rules state that it will be mandatory for every medical device, to display the UKCA marking. However, the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is proposing substantial changes. This includes transitional arrangements so that manufacturers can continue to place CE-marked medical devices on the GB market after 30 June 2023.

Third-party involvement

Where third-party conformity assessment is required, a UK Approved Body is needed. However, Class I devices and general IVD manufacturers can self-certify against the UKCA mark. It is important to note that the exception to the rule is Class I medical devices that are sterile or have a measuring function, as they require approval from a UK Approved Body in order to affix the UKCA mark and be placed on the GB market.

If the manufacturer is located outside the UK, they must appoint a UK Responsible Person (UKRP), who must be based in the UK. The UKRP then acts on behalf of the outside-UK manufacturer to ensure that their obligations are carried out, and it is permitted for an importer or distributor to act as a UKRP. Their responsibilities include registering the medical devices with the MHRA before they can be placed on the UK market, and ensuring the manufacturer is compliant with the requirement and holds relevant documentation. It is important to note that the MHRA will only register devices where the manufacturer or their UKRP has a registered place of business in the UK. In all instances, where the UKCA mark has been affixed the name and address of the UKRP must be included on product labelling.

Market differences

The Northern Ireland (NI) Protocol has created another layer of complexity for medical devices manufacturers as it means that NI aligns with relevant EU rules relating to placing manufactured goods on the market. This means that in NI, the CE mark is still required, so even after 30 June 2023, CE-marked medical devices can continue to be placed on the market. Under these rules, qualifying goods are those in free circulation in NI – not those under a customs procedure or in an authorised temporary storage facility before being moved between NI and GB.

If a UK body carries out a mandatory third-party conformity assessment, then a UKNI marking must be applied – but must be accompanied by EU conformity marking (e.g. CE marking). Goods with both the CE and UKNI marking cannot be placed on the rest of the EU market. If a mandatory third-party conformity assessment was carried out by an EU-recognised notified body, goods with the CE marking can be placed on NI and EU markets.

As a deviation from the GB requirements, the Medical Device Regulations, 2017/745(EU MDR) and the In Vitro Diagnostic Medical Device Regulations, 2017/746(EU IVDR) apply in NI from 26 May 2021 and 26 May 2022, respectively. This means that GB manufacturers will require an EU Authorised Representative, located either in NI or the EU, in order to place products in the NI market.

The UK government guarantees NI businesses unfettered access to the UK market, without the need for additional approvals. Qualifying NI goods can therefore be placed on the GB market based on the conformity markings used in NI, such as the CE, and CE/UKNI markings. However, the UKCA mark cannot be used for goods placed on the NI market.

To register with the MHRA you must show evidence that your medical device has undergone conformity assessment by a UK Approved Body, which must be based in the UK. Following approval from a UK Approved Body, the manufacturer will be able to affix the UKCA mark (in Great Britain), or UK(NI) mark (in Northern Ireland). Alternatively, if your products are CE marked, then you may also use your CE certificate as evidence to register with MHRA until 30 June 2023.

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