Doctors will be able to carry out more research involving very sick children, now the upper house of parliament has voted in favour of new legislation.
Until now, doctors have only been able to take blood or tissue samples from children with very serious diseases if it is in the child’s direct interest. In addition, many parents say they have been forced to go abroad for treatment with innovative medicines because Dutch doctors have not been allowed to test them out.
The draft legislation was introduced by health minister Edith Schippers in 2013 but has only now completed its passage through parliament. Each request for treatment will be first assessed by a special committee and must be approved by the child’s parents.
The Dutch human rights committee, however, opposes the move, saying it does not take the interests of very sick children into account.
‘Children will be burdened with a lot of pain and discomfort,’ said law professor Jos Dute, who is a member of the committee. ‘But the chance they will benefit is extremely small.’
The pro-animal PvdD was the only party to vote against the measure.
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