Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has sent a letter to the House of Representatives expressing his objection to some articles of a draft law on clinical trials, which governs the organisation of medical research in Egypt.
The draft law was passed last May and has raised ethical and legal concerns among medical researchers.
"Some of the most controversial articles of this law have sparked serious reactions and divided public opinion into either strong sceptics or feverish supporters," said El-Sisi's letter, adding that "the president's office has also received important remarks from some scientific and professional circles and all indicate that some of the law's articles are still a matter of severe controversy."
El-Sisi's letter said articles 4, 5, 9, 11, 19, 20, and 22 need a new debate that takes all different points of view into consideration.
House Speaker Ali Abdel-Aal praised the president's comments on the law, saying that they reflect an active political life and atmosphere in the country.
Abdel-Aal noted that this is the second time in the country's history – and the first time for the current parliament – that the president has objected to a draft law approved by parliament.
The president urged parliament to reconsider the draft law.
The clinical trial law, which consists of 18 articles, was first discussed by parliament in 2006, but was suspended after public backlash.
Clinical trials are tests conducted on human volunteers to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of newly developed medications or medical devices.
Egypt has been witnessing a steady increase in the number of trials it hosts, which has pushed parliament to discuss this law, potentially putting restrictions on experiments that are conducted in hospitals.
In February 2016, there were 57 active clinical drug trials, half of which were to assess cancer treatments, according to the independent Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR).