New German Regulation to change Dementia Treatment
The lower house of the German Parliament recently passed a new law altering the conditions researchers must meet to conduct clinical research involving dementia patients. Under the previous guidelines, researchers were restricted to using medication to individually treat patients. Now, within the new framework, doctors can test a wider array of medicinal products that may not be specific to a current patient but instead are designed for broader purposes. As a result, there is more freedom to accelerate dementia treatment research which could enhance treatment for future patients.
In spite of the potential benefits, this law has been largely denounced by care groups and religious institutions. Many believe this change threatens the human dignity of a vulnerable group and damages trust in the medical research field1. Furthermore, religious institutions warn that this regulation “downgraded people to being used as mere objects”.2
While the upper house of the German Parliament still needs to approve the new regulation, the overwhelming lower house vote of 357 to 164 in favor of the new law is a strong indication that it will be passed in the near future.2 And, although there remains an ethical controversy, passage of this law could pave the way for alternative regulations that promote more freedom in testing treatments for various diseases.
1 Welle, Deutsche. ‘Dementia Medical Test Rules Slammed in Germany | News | DW.COM | 02.06.2016’. Accessed November 15, 2016. http://www.dw.com/en/dementia-medical-test-rules-slammed-in-germany/a-19299631.
2Welle, Deutsche. ‘German Parliament Passes Controversial Law on Dementia Treatments | News | DW.COM | 11.11.2016’. October 2011. Accessed November 15, 2016. http://www.dw.com/en/german-parliament-passes-controversial-law-on-dementia-treatments/a-36357690.