International (European) organizations have impact on health law. The most recent developments are: a revision of the world Medical’s Association Declaration of Helsinki, a proposal for a Directive (European Commission) on standards of quality and safety of human organs intended for transplantation, accompanied by a ten point action plan; a proposal (European Commission) for a Directive on the application of patients’ rights in cross-border health care; a proposal (European commission) for a Directive on information to the general public on medicinal products subject to medical prescription.
In the European Union, unaccompanied asylum seekers below 18 years of age are entitled to specific treatment. Age assessment practices to verify the age-statement by the asylum seeker differ between EU Member States. Medical methods in use raise questions about accuracy, reliability and safety. The medical, legal and ethical acceptability of invasive methods (notably X-rays) in particular is controversial. Human rights are at stake. The lack of common practices results in different levels of protection (discrimination). The absence of standardisation is an obstacle for the functioning of the Common European Asylum System. EU Best Practice Guidelines should remedy the situation; such guidelines should reflect the best interest of the child.
This article deals with the impact on patients’ rights of medical and technological advances in a market oriented (European) society: what are the advantages and risks, what are the challenges that lay ahead of us? After introducing the subject matter, the first part deals with risks for patients’ rights in the European cross border context (health care, direct to the public screening offers and biomedical research). The second part sketches some of the implications of innovation in health care and medical technology for patients’ rights to autonomy and private life, particularly when third party interests are involved. The article ends with some suggestions on how best to protect patients’ rights in the perspective of innovation in health care and medical research.