France’s medicines regulator, the Agence Nationale de Sécurité du Médicament et des Produits de Santé (ANSM), has released draft guidelines, currently subject to a public consultation, setting out recommendations for manufacturers designed to help prevent cybersecurity attacks to medical devices. Notably, the draft guidelines are the first instance of recommendations released by a national regulator in Europe that apply cybersecurity considerations specifically to medical devices. The full ANSM draft guidelines, ‘Cybersécurité des dispositifs médicaux intégrant du logiciel au cours de leur cycle de vie’ (‘Cybersecurity of medical devices integrating software during their life cycle’) published 19 July 2019, is available in French here, and in English here.

The draft guidelines note that while the European regulatory framework (the Medical Devices Regulation 2017/745 and In Vitro Diagnostic Medical Devices Regulation 2017 /746) has been modified “in line with technological developments” (e.g. “data exchange, monitoring, risk prediction and control software”) to include software within the definition of a medical device, and accompanying security and performance requirements specific to such medical devices incorporating software, the “[medical device and in vitro diagnostic medical device r]egulations do not explicitly refer to or elaborate on the notion of cybersecurity”. For the purposes of the guidelines, ‘cybersecurity’ is described as “the full set of technical or organisational measures set up to ensure the integrity and availability of a [medical device] and the confidentiality of the information held on or output by this [medical device] against the risk of targeted attacks.

In overview, the draft guidelines require manufacturers to undertake risk assessments using both IT and medical device risk management methodology, and then align these approaches as part of manufacturers’ implementation of quality management systems. The recommendations are subdivided into areas representing different parts of the product life cycle, including: software design activity; initialization (first use); monitoring (post market management); and medical device software end of life.

The draft guidelines also make reference to the French ‘General Security Framework’ from which “the criteria of availability, integrity and confidentiality are the baseline objectives to fulfil in terms of security” and that “various documents and tools provided by the ANSSI [the French National Security Agency] are also applicable to [medical devices].” Further, the draft guidelines introduce a criterion of ‘auditability’ to be additionally addressed by medical device manufacturers.

ANSM has shared its work within this area with the European Commission in the hope that “the [European] regulations evolve to integrate [ANSM’s work]” as it is the first time that such recommendations have been drafted in the EU. The draft guidelines are currently subject to public consultation until 30 September 2019.