WMA Council Meeting
(30.04.2012) At its Council meeting in Prague, Czech Republic (April 26-28), attended by delegates from 40 national medical associations, the World Medical Association discussed a number of issues, including the following:
DECLARATION OF HELSINKI
The Council heard an oral report from a WMA workgroup about progress on revising the Declaration of Helsinki on the ethical principles for research on human beings. Meetings have been planned to take place in Rotterdam in June and in Cape Town in December to discuss further the areas to be revised for a draft document to be produced. Information about a public consultation exercise will be given later.
ETHICAL ORGAN PROCUREMENT
A workgroup draft statement on ethical organ procurement was presented to the meeting. This examines a number of areas, including raising public awareness, the taking of organs from prisoners and the commercialisation of organ donation. It was decided to forward the document to the WMA's annual General Assembly in Thailand in October for adoption.
VIOLENCE IN THE HEALTH SECTOR
A new policy document on Violence in the Health Sector was discussed against the background of the recent death of a young Turkish doctor in Istanbul. It was agreed that the document should be forwarded to the General Assembly for adoption.
A resolution reaffirming the WMA's prohibition of physician participation in capital punishment was debated and it was agreed to forward an updated policy document to the General Assembly for adoption.
A new policy statement on the manufacture and sale of electronic cigarettes was discussed and it was agreed to forward the document to the General Assembly for adoption.
PHYSICIANS AND ARMED CONFLICTS
Further discussion took place about revising the WMA Regulations in Times of Armed Conflict against the background of violence in the Middle East and elsewhere. It was again emphasised that physicians and other health care personnel must be considered as neutral in armed conflicts and situations of violent civil unrest. The Council agreed to work with the International Committee of the Red Cross on its ‘Health Care in Danger' project and to forward the revised Regulations to the annual General Assembly for adoption.
A draft statement on the ethical implications of physician strikes was introduced and it was decided to set up a workgroup to examine the issue further.
It was agreed that several draft policy documents should be circulated to national medical associations for comment. These include papers on Forced sterilization, Vaccination and Person Centred Medicine.
Separate press releases have been issued on threats to professional autonomy and self regulation in Turkey and the continuing violence in Syria and Bahrain.