14 September 2018

‘Alternative medicine ban violates the EU standards,’ Olena Drozdova says

The idea of banning advertising and actual provision of alternative medical treatment does not only take away choice from potential patients, but also is in conflict with a number of provisions of the EU international regulations.

That was the opinion that Drozdova & Partners Law Firm Director Ms Olena Drozdova, the Deputy Chair of the Committee on Medical and Pharmaceutical Law and Bioethics of the Ukrainian National Bar Association, expressed in her interview to Law & Business newspaper when commenting on Bill No. 9062 amending certain Ukrainian laws as recently enrolled in the Verkhovna Rada.

The expert has referred to, among other things, Article 2 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms that protects the right of every person to their life. ‘The ECHR often construes the right to medical aid with reference to material aspects of the right to life,’ Ms Drozdova has explained. ‘Thus, the material components of such right may include the right to choose a health care institution, the right to take part in various experimental treatments, and the right to consent to the application of different medical procedures.’

The advocate has also pointed out that the right to choose the methods of improving one’s health and the methods of treatment is also spelled out in Article 5 of the European Charter of Patients’ Rights saying that each individual has the right to freely choose from among different treatment procedures and providers (specialists) on the basis of adequate information.

‘Further, with the ratification of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Ukraine has committed to ensure the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health for its citizens,’ Ms Drozdova has pointed out.

According to the expert, the ECHR has noted on numerous occasions violations of the right to life, which violations are directly related to governments’ failure to provide proper conditions for obtaining medical aid. As an example, the advocate has referred to the judgment given in Centre For Legal Resources On Behalf Of Valentin Campeanu v Romania.

‘Negative perception of alternative medicine is a form of the inherited Soviet thinking rejecting anything that was not in line with the government’s plans. Our legislature ought to think about how to take tutorship of the alternative medicine and how it should be administrated and to trace the resulting outcomes, instead of banning it and, possibly, denuding patients of their last hope to recovery,’ Ms Drozdova has summarised.