Defining the Threshold of Permissible Risk for Non-therapeutic Clinical Trials with Children in Europe

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Series Details Vol.24, No.4, August 2017, p414-431
Publication Date August 2017
ISSN 0929-0273
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It is important that clinical research with children is encouraged so that they are not exposed to the dangers of extrapolation from adult treatments. Clinical trials with investigational medicinal products (IMPs) are an important part of improving medical care for children.

Both the 2001 Clinical Trials Directive and the 2014 Regulation recognise the need for such research, including the need for non-therapeutic trials with IMPs. However, it is also recognised that a balance must be struck between permitting tailored medical care for children as a group on the one hand, and protecting individual trial participants from harm on the other. A central issue in striking this balance relates to defining the threshold of risk which should be permitted in such research.

This article provides a critical analysis of the current European law in relation to the definition of acceptable risk for non-therapeutic clinical trials with IMPs and makes recommendations for reform, drawing on law from the Council of Europe, as well as law from the US.

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