49th World Medical Association General Assembly

The World Medical Association meets in Hamburg, Germany from November 10 to 14. The scientific session on Tuesday November 11 and Wednesday November 12 and the General Assembly on Thursday November 13 and Friday November 14 are open to the press and you are invited to attend the meeting or to send a representative. The meeting will be held at the Hamburg Congress Centre.

The programme for the Scientific Session is:

Tuesday 11 November:

9.00-10.45: Therapeutic Concepts against Narcotics Abuse
-Prof. Ambros Uchtenhagen, Zurich, Switzerland: "Therapy of Narcotic Addicts"
-Prof. Pierre Angel, Paris, France: "Psychotherapy of Narcotic Addicts"

11.15-1.00: Therapeutic Concepts against Alcohol and Drug Abuse
-Dr Felix Tretter, Munich, Germany: "Treatment of Alcohol Abuse under Clinical Conditions"
- Prof. Michael Farrell, London, UK: "Developing Evidence Based Approaches for the Treatment of Alcohol and Drug Problems in the Community"

3.00-4.45: Quality Assessment of Therapeutic Concepts
-Prof. Sheldon I Miller, Chicago, USA: "Medical Education and Therapeutic Concepts"
-Prof. Uwe Koch, Hamburg, Germany: "External Quality Assessment of Therapies against Substance-Abuse"

Wednesday 12 November:

9.00-11.00: Prevention and Epidemiological Aspects
-Prof. Ulf Rydberg, Stockholm, Sweden: "Understanding Abuse through Empirical Research"
-Prof. Klaus Hurrelmann, Bielefeld, Germany: "Youth and Drugs: Epidemiological Data and Prevention Strategies"

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The 49th General Assembly will open at 11 am on Thursday November 13 with an address from Germany's Federal Minister of Health, Herr Horst Seehofer.

The new president of the WMA, Dr Azrul Azwar, of the Indonesian Medical Association will be installed and will give an inaugural address and in the afternoon there will be a commemorative session marking the 50th anniversary of the WMA on The Future of Medicine and of the World Medical Association. Speakers will be Dr Halfdan Mahler, former director of the World Health Organisation, Dr Anders Milton, chairman of Council of the WMA, and Dr Delon Human, secretary general designate of the WMA.

Plenary sessions of the General Assembly will be held on Friday morning and, if necessary, in the afternoon and the debates will include:

  • a proposed Statement on Drug Treatment of Tuberculosis following recent WHO estimates that 30 million people could die from TB over the next 10 years;

  • consideration of a joint statement with the International Pharmaceutical Federation on the promotion and marketing of pharmaceutical preparations;

  • a proposed addition to the WMA Statement on the Health Hazards of Tobacco Products calling on all national medical associations and all doctors to refrain from accepting any funding from the tobacco industry and urging medical schools, research institutes and individual researchers to do the same in order to avoid giving any credibility to the tobacco industry;

  • a proposed resolution on the Prohibition of Practice by Female Doctors in Afghanistan;

  • a proposed Statement on the Licensing of Physicians Fleeing Prosecution for Serious Criminal Offences.

Other issues under consideration by the WMA Council and its committees include:

  • a proposed Declaration on Cloning and Human Dignity which calls for an explicit worldwide ban on the cloning of human beings;

  • a proposal to revise the WMA Declaration of Helsinki guiding physicians and other investigators in biomedical research involving human subjects;

  • a proposed Declaration on Palliative Care which recommends that patients should be allowed to decide for themselves when they should receive palliative care and discontinue curative treatment, provided that, in the opinion of three physicians, there is no reasonable chance of recovery;

  • a proposed Declaration on the Rights of the Unborn;

  • a proposed Declaration on the Rights of the Child Patient relating to, among other things, freedom of choice, consent and self determination, confidentiality, admission to hospital and child abuse;

  • proposals to amend the Declaration of Geneva on medical ethics;

Consideration will also be given to applications for membership from the Chinese Medical Association which has a membership of 390,000 physicians, the Association of Physicians in Russia, the Medical Federation of Ecuador and the Malaysian Medical Association.