Ethical principles and legal requirements for pediatric research in the EU: an analysis of the European normative and legal framework surrounding pediatric clinical trials

Eur J Pediatr. 2009 Oct;168(10):1225-34. doi: 10.1007/s00431-008-0915-7. Epub 2009 Jan 14.

Abstract

The involvement of minors in clinical research is inevitable to catch up with the lack of drugs labeled for pediatric use. To encourage the responsible conduct of pediatric clinical trials in the EU, an extensive legal framework has been developed over the past decade in which the practical, ethical, legal, social, and commercial issues in pediatric research are addressed. In this article, the European legal framework surrounding pediatric clinical trials is analyzed from the perspective of the major ethical concerns in pediatric research. The four principles of biomedical ethics will be used as a conceptual framework (1) to map the ethical issues addressed in the European legal framework, (2) to study how these issues are commonly handled in competent adults, (3) to detect workability problems of these paradigmatic approaches in the specific setting of pediatric research, and (4) to illustrate the strong urge to differentiate, specify, or adjust these paradigmatic approaches to guarantee their successful operation in pediatric research. In addition, a concise comparative analysis of the European regulation will be made. To conclude our analysis, we integrate our findings in the existing ethical discussions on issues specific to pediatric clinical research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research / ethics*
  • Biomedical Research / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Ethics, Research*
  • European Union
  • Human Rights / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Humans
  • Minors / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Pediatrics / ethics*
  • Research Subjects / legislation & jurisprudence