World Medical Association Seminar On Central Health Databases - 3 May 2000

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A one day seminar on the ethical implications of central health databases is being held by the World Medical Association in Geneva on Wednesday 3rd May. The event is being held in conjunction with the World Health Organisation at the WHO's headquarters in Geneva.

Following the seminar, the WMA will be meeting at Le Grand Hotel, in Divonne-les-Bains, France, from May 4-7, when it will hold its 156th session and committee meetings.

Both events are open to the media and you are invited to attend.


The May 3 Symposium, entitled 'The Ethical Implications and Optimal Design of Centralized Health Databases', will be held in the executive board room at the WHO in Geneva. The proposed agenda will include case studies from Sweden, Estonia and Iceland. There will be a keynote address from an expert on centralized databases, Dr. William Lowrance. Dr. Daniel Wikler will give the World Health Organisation's perspectives on the ethical implications at issue, while Dr. Anders Milton, Chairman of the WMA Council, will talk about the WMA's views and recommendations.

Council And Committee Meetings

Among the issues to be discussed at the WMA's committee and Council meetings are:

  • The Clinical Independence of Physicians
    A new draft Statement that raises growing concern among the world's doctors about the way in which they are having to comply with economic considerations at the expense of the quality and duration of patients' treatment. The Statement declares that physicians should have the right to refuse to participate in any activities which they believe to be unethical and which are being imposed for either administrative reasons or financial gain;

  • Female Foeticide
    A paper from the Indian medical association calling on the World Medical Association to support its campaign against female foeticide and female infanticide;

  • Prison Health Care
    Proposed Statement on prison conditions and the spread of tuberculosis and other communicable diseases;

  • The Human Genome
    The meeting is to consider a paper expressing opposition among the world's physicians to the patenting of the human genome. The paper, from the Norwegian Medical Association, states that the medical profession is fundamentally opposed to basic scientific knowledge relating to the discovery of human genes or sequences of a gene being patentable and it declares that human genes must be seen as mankind's common heritage and that no one should be granted exclusive patented protection for their discoveries;

  • Declaration of Helsinki
    Further discussion about proposed revisions.