Belgium Draws a Clear Line on “Right-to-Try”–and Backs Research Independence


An additional light has been shone on the “right-to-try” debate in Europe by a strongly-worded statement from Belgium’s feisty health minister, Maggie De Block. I alluded in an ACT blog last month to the case of a young British patient seeking access to cannabis oil as a therapy for epilepsy—an option denied to her by UK legislation. Now the Belgian authorities find themselves swept up in the controversy, after reports that De Block had suggested to the girl’s mother that she should move abroad to obtain the treatment. This Belgian eddy in the debate has become tangled by personalities and local politics, to the extent that De Block felt obliged to put out a formal communiqué in late April clarifying her position. But her public statement also offers an insight into how one of Europe’s more prominent health ministers views the discussions now underway across the developed world on where and how to draw the line between patients’ rights and public duties. De Block flatly denies having advised the mother to take the child to a different country in pursuit of cannabis oil. Belgium Draws a Clear Line on “Right-to-Try”–and Backs Research Independence

thumbnail courtesy of


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here