World Medical Association 164th Council Meeting

At its 164th Council session in Divonne-les-Bains, France (May 15-18), the World Medical Association elected:

  • Dr. Yoram Blachar as Chair of Council. Dr. Blachar is President of the Israel Medical Association and has been head of paediatric nephrology services at Kaplan Medical Center, Rehovot since 1979;
  • Dr. Tai Joon Moon, Honorary President of the Korean Medical Association, was re-elected as Vice-Chair of Council;
  • Dr. Karsten Vilmar, of the German Medical Association, was re-elected as Treasurer;
  • Dr. Jon Snaedal, Vice-Chair of the Iceland Medical Association, as Chairman of the Medical Ethics Committee;
  • Dr. Hokuto Hoshi as Chair of the Socio Medical Affairs Committee.
    Dr. Hoshi is an executive member of the Board of Trustees of the Japan Medical Association;
  • Dr. Yank Coble as Chair of the Finance and Planning Committee.
    Dr. Coble is President of the American Medical Association.

Declaration of Helsinki
The meeting decided that work should continue on clarifying or amending paragraph 30 of the revised Declaration that states that "At the conclusion of the study, every patient entered into the study should be assured of access to the best proven prophylactic, diagnostic and therapeutic methods identified by the study".

Medical Ethics Day
The meeting decided to recommend to the WMA General Assembly that 17 September each year be designated as annual Medical Ethics Day and to encourage national medical associations to observe the day.
September 17, 1947 was the date the WMA held its first General Assembly.

Sale of Reproductive Material
National medical associations are to be consulted on ways in which physicians can seek to end the practice of the sale of human reproductive materials, particularly on the Internet.

Violence and Health
Proposals to encourage physicians around the world to become more involved in the prevention of violence by contributing to more systematic approaches to dealing with the issue are to be considered by the WMA's national member association members. A proposed plan of action is being considered to encourage physicians to involve themselves in data collection, medical training, research and co-ordination of victim assistance.

Forensic Investigations of the Missing
Work is to continue on a new Statement calling on all national medical associations to try to ensure that when its members take part in any forensic investigation, especially outside their own country, they ensure that the investigation is conducted according to the highest possible ethical, scientific and legal standards.

Regulations in Time of Armed Conflict
Consideration is to be given to revising the WMA Regulations on Armed Conflict so that they would require armed forces and others
a) to protect doctors and health care staff who are caring for patients in a war zone; and
b) to deal with the provision of an adequate healthcare infrastructure, including water, food and shelter.

Separate statements have been issued on:

  • SARS and the need for a global communications network
  • The law and medical ethics
  • Plans for a new torture detection module
  • Observer status for Taiwan at WHO
  • The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control