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The Erasmus MC MERC

The Medical Ethics Review Committee (MERC; METC in Dutch) checks and assesses medical research using human subjects. All or part of this work is carried out with the help of Erasmus MC employees, with the exception of research that needs to be checked by the CCMO (Central Committee on Research Involving Human Subjects).

Our MERC Committee has been legally approved. The Committee performs its tasks as an independent administrative body, under the Medical Research Involving Human Subjects Act (WMO), and in doing so the committee makes provisions for relevant legislation and regulations, and international treaties.

The Committee makes regular reference to the website of the CCMO. This Committee is based in The Hague and is the administrator of the Medical Research Involving Human Subjects Act. Please see the CCMO website for further information.

MERC’s objective

The purpose of checking medical research using human subjects is to protect the rights, safety, and wellbeing of the human subjects, with additional emphasis on research involving vulnerable human subjects.

We check medical research if human subjects are subjected to activities or if enforcing certain behavior is part of the research project.

In certain cases, changes are proposed after a medical research project has already been positively assessed. It is then the duty of the Committee to evaluate the proposal. The Committee may also give a more detailed opinion on medical research involving human subjects which it had previously assessed positively. It can do this if the research turns out to be less favorable for a human subject than was previously thought (Article 10 of the WMO).

Erasmus MC MERC Committee

The WMO Act stipulates that members with certain expertise and experience must be present on the Committee.
The Committee consists of two chambers, both of which have a chairperson and a deputy chairperson, who are also members of the Committee. The following persons must be present in both chambers of the Committee:

  • At least two physicians;
  • One expert on ethics;
  • One person who looks at the medical research from the subject’s perspective;
  • One expert on the methodology used in the medical research;
  • One legal expert specialized in health law;
  • One expert on clinical pharmacology and clinical pharmacy, insofar as the Committee is assessing research on drugs; and
  • One person from outside the organization;
  • A separate person must be present for each WMO discipline. An exception applies to the persons who look at the medical research from the subject’s perspective, the person from outside the organization, and the persons who are both Clinical Pharmacologist and Hospital Pharmacist.

The secretary takes the minutes of the meeting, but is not a member of the Committee. Our MERC has an Executive Board. Chairpersons can chair both chambers. Both chambers are aware of the other chamber’s activities. Research protocols are assigned in the order of receipt, which makes both chambers equal. Members from both chambers can substitute for each other. If this is not possible, the regular deputy members take their place. The chambers act as a single Committee.

Current MERC members and deputy members


  • Dr. K.M. Akkerhuis - Cardiologist
  • Dr. P.M.L.A. van den Bemt - Hospital Pharmacist / Clinical Pharmacologist
  • Dr. I.A. Boere, Internist / Oncologist
  • R.C.M. Broekman, LL.M. - Health Lawyer
  • Ms. A.M. den Hertog-de Visser, LL.M. - Health Lawyer
  • Dr. W.C.J. Hop - Methodologist
  • Dr. J. van der Lugt, Pediatric Oncologist / Hematologist
  • Dr. B.C.P. Koch - Hospital Pharmacist / Clinical Pharmacologist
  • Dr. E.J.O. Kompanje - Ethicist
  • Prof. H.J. Metselaar (chair) - Internist / Gastroenterologist - Hepatologist
  • Dr. H.G.P. Raaijmakers - Hematologist
  • Dr. L. de Ridder- Pediatric Gastroenterologist / Hepatologist
  • Dr. B.J.A. Rijnders - Internist / Infectious disease specialist
  • Ms. N.A. Steenbrink, LL.M. - Subject’s perspective / External member
  • Dr. I.H. van der Sijs, Clinical Pharmacologist / ZAPO
  • Prof. H.W. Tilanus (chair) - Surgeon
  • Dr. R. Timman - Methodologist
  • Ms. K. Tromp, Ethicist
  • Ms. K.E. van der Vaart - Research coordinator
  • Dr. F.M. van der Veen - Psychologist
  • Ms. C.F.B Verhagen-van Weerden, LL.M. - Health Lawyer
  • Prof. A.G. Vulto - Hospital Pharmacist / Clinical Pharmacologist
  • Dr. M. Witsenburg - Cardiologist
  • Ms. H. Wijnker - Subject’s perspective / External member

Deputy members:

  • Prof. A.H.J. Danser - Clinical Pharmacologist
  • Dr. F.A.L.M. Eskens - Internist / Oncologist
  • Dr. N. Exalto, Embryologist
  • Dr. M.T. Hilhorst - Ethicist
  • J.W. Labree, LL.M. - Subject’s perspective / External member
  • H.Q. Meulblok - Subject’s perspective / External member
  • Prof. C.A.G.M. van Montfort - Methodologist
  • Dr. I.M. van der Sluis - Pediatric Oncologist
  • Ms. L. Wessels-Lokker - Subject’s perspective / External member
  • Dr. A.I. Wierdsma, Methodologist
  • Ms.. S.E. Zijlstra - Subject’s perspective / External member
  • Prof. C.M. Zwaan - Pediatric Oncologist / Hematologist