Regulation of medical devices

Basic information on medical devices

Unlike medicinal products, medical devices do not undergo an official authorisation procedure. For these devices, Switzerland has taken over the European Union (EU) system of compliance assessment and certification, based on bilateral agreements.

Compliance with internationally valid norms is evaluated by private entities. Medical devices are attributed to various categories that require varying assessment procedures. The visible result of a compliance assessment is the so-called CE label, which permits medical devices to be placed on the market within the EU and also in Switzerland.

Swissmedic's focus in the area of medical devices is thus on effective market surveillance. This is by necessity organised on a transnational basis, since the industry has long become globalised. Given this background, networking among authorities beyond national borders is essential.

Joint and co-ordinated measures – always with a view to protecting public health – are becoming more important. In addition, the designation and monitoring of the so-called conformity assessment bodies and the drafting of requirements in the form of technical standards also fall within Swissmedic's remit.

You can find an overview of the life cycle of a medical device and the various tasks of Swissmedic by clicking on this picture.

Lebenszyklus eines Medizinproduktes
Overview of the life cycle of a medical device and the various tasks of Swissmedic.

Click for a bigger view