Ethical principles and operational guidelines for good clinical practice in paediatric research. Recommendations of the Ethics Working Group of the Confederation of European Specialists in Paediatrics (CESP)

Eur J Pediatr. 2004 Feb;163(2):53-7. doi: 10.1007/s00431-003-1378-5. Epub 2004 Jan 10.


A child has the full right of protection of his/her life by provision of optional medical care. There is a need in paediatrics for better evidence based practice founded on quality research into efficacy and safety of children's medications. To protect the best interests of the child one must balance the ethical demand to do clinical studies with the necessity to avoid doing harm. To achieve this end good clinical practice in paediatric research demands that studies comply with the Declaration of Helsinki, ICH topic E11, EU Directives and other relevant international guidelines. Evident differences in physiology, pharmacology, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics between children of differing ages and between children and adults demand properly constructed and conducted studies that respect the special somatic, emotional and mental needs of children. To justify any research project one must balance the benefit/risk ratio, provide experienced, competent personnel and infracture, obtain adequate informed consent/assent, and have the study evaluated and approved by an ethics committee containing expertise on the rights and needs of children.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Biomedical Research / ethics*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Ethics Committees, Research / organization & administration*
  • Ethics Committees, Research / standards
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pediatrics*