The planned reform of the Clinical Trials Directive has re-opened the debate over how to implement and interpret research-related injuries regulation. In the European Union (eu), clinical trials are currently regulated by Directive 2001/20/ec, which establishes the provision of mandatory insurance before clinical trials commence but is silent on the system of liability. The proposed new Regulation will impact biomedical research assurance in all eu Member States because it points to insurance costs as being one of the causes of the fall in the number of clinical trials carried out in the eu. Despite the adoption of a risk-balance approach, the proposed new Regulation does not include a no-fault compensation system to protect subjects participating in clinical trials. An adequate protection of the rights and wellbeing of trial subjects would require not only mandatory insurance for clinical trials but also a no-fault compensation system. The new regulation should include a general clause requiring mandatory insurance and establishing liability insurance based on no-fault compensation; an exception clause, enabling the performance of clinical trials without insurance in the case of low-risk interventions or non-commercial clinical trials; and an exclusion clause, excluding compensation when there is no causal connection between injuries and clinical trial.
C. Trouet M. Gobert and M. PodoorClinical Trials in Belgium. The Belgian Implementation of the European Clinical Trials Directives (Antwerp: Intersentia2007) at p. 40 available online: www.ejustice.just.fgov.be.
P.R. Ferguson“Clinical Trials and Healthy Volunteers”Medical Law Review16 (2008) 23-51at p. 23; Expert Scientific Group on Phase One Clinical Trials Final Report (Norwich: The Stationery Office 2006) at pp. 30-35; Royal Statistical Society Report of the Working Group on Statistical Issues in First-in-Man Studies (London 2007) at pp. 7-9.