American Health Secretary Supports World Medical Association Over Helsinki Declaration

The American Health Secretary, Tommy Thompson, today expressed his support for the World Medical Association's efforts to reach an international consensus on the basic ethical principles that govern medical research involving human subjects.

Speaking at a WMA reception at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Mr Thompson welcomed the WMA's decision to set up a working party to consider concerns over implementing some provisions in the revised Declaration of Helsinki. These relate primarily to placebo control trials and to the standard of care to be given to participants in research projects.

Mr Thompson, described the Declaration of Helsinki as one of the world's primary statements of ethical principles, which for four decades has guided physicians engaged in research. He offered the assistance of the American Health and Human Services Department in working with the WMA in reaching a consensus.