Finland on a Road towards a Modern Legal Biobanking Infrastructure

In: European Journal of Health Law
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  • 1 National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Helsinki, Finland

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Abstract

Finland has enacted a Biobank Act that will come into force on 1 September 2013. Finland is regarded as a highly successful environment for medical research using population samples and data for many reasons. One of the rationales behind the new legislation was to solve the problems due to the overly strict informed consent doctrine hindering access to old samples and data and asking for multi-purpose consents. Yet although consent is the primary justification to use biobank samples and data, the Biobank Act allows asking for a consent for several unspecified future research purposes. The guiding principles of the Biobank Act are promotion of trust, equal access to data and samples, protection of privacy, acceleration of innovation activities, and bringing biobank activities under public scrutiny. To the author’s knowledge, this is the first “all purpose” Biobank Act in Europe applied to all biobanks in one country.

  • 3)

    See M. Gissler and J. Haukka, “Finnish health and social welfare registers in epidemiological research”, Norsk Epidemiologi 14(1) (2004) 113-120.

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