Informed consent and assent guide for paediatric clinical trials in Europe

Informed consent and assent guide for paediatric clinical trials in Europe
Original Research
Pirkko Lepola, Maxine Kindred, Viviana Giannuzzi, Heidi Glosli, Martine Dehlinger-Kremer, Harris Dalrymple, David Neubauer, Geraldine B Boylan, Jean Conway, Jo Dewhurst, Diane Hoffman
Archives of Disease in Childhood, 1 December 2021
Abstract
Objective
Clinical trial sponsors spend considerable resources preparing informed consent (IC) and assent documentation for multinational paediatric clinical trial applications in Europe due to the limited and dispersed patient populations, the variation of national legal and ethical requirements, and the lack of detailed guidance. The aim of this study was to design new easy-to-use guide publicly available on European Medicines Agency’s, Enpr-EMA website for all stakeholders.
Methods
Current EU legal, ethical and regulatory guidance for paediatric clinical trials were collated, analysed and divided into 30 subject elements in two tables. The European Network of Young Person’s Advisory Group reviewed the data and provided specific comments. A three-level recommendation using ‘traffic light’ symbols was designed for four age groups of children, according to relevance and the requirements.
Results
A single guide document includes two tables: (1) general information and (2) trial-specific information. In the age group of 6–9 years old, 92% of the trial-specific subject elements can be or should be included in the IC discussion. Even in the youngest possible age group (2–5 years old children), the number of elements considered was, on average, 52%.
Conclusion
The EU Clinical Trial Regulation (2014) does not contain specific requirements exclusively for paediatric clinical trials. This work is the first to extensively collate all the current legal, regulatory and ethical documentation on the IC process, together with input from adolescents. This guide may increase the ethical standards in paediatric clinical trials.

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