WORLD MEDICAL ASSOCIATION
THE WMA INTERNATIONAL CODE OF MEDICAL ETHICS
Adopted by the 3rd
General Assembly of the
World Medical Association, London, England, October 1949,
and amended by the 22nd
World Medical Assembly, Sydney, Australia, August 1968,
World Medical Assembly, Venice, Italy, October 1983, and
the WMA General Assembly, Pilanesberg, South Africa, October 2006
DUTIES OF PHYSICIANS IN GENERAL
A PHYSICIAN SHALL always exercise his/her independent professional judgment and maintain the
highest standards of professional conduct.
A PHYSICIAN SHALL respect a competent patient’s right to accept or refuse treatment.
A PHYSICIAN SHALL not allow his/her judgment to be influenced by personal profit or unfair
A PHYSICIAN SHALL be dedicated to providing competent medical service in full professional and
moral independence, with compassion and respect for human dignity.
A PHYSICIAN SHALL deal honestly with patients and colleagues, and report to the appropriate
authorities those physicians who practice unethically or incompetently or who engage in fraud or
A PHYSICIAN SHALL not receive any financial benefits or other incentives solely for referring
patients or prescribing specific products.
A PHYSICIAN SHALL respect the rights and preferences of patients, colleagues, and other health
A PHYSICIAN SHALL recognize his/her important role in educating the public but should use due
caution in divulging discoveries or new techniques or treatment through non-professional
A PHYSICIAN SHALL certify only that which he/she has personally verified.
A PHYSICIAN SHALL strive to use health care resources in the best way to benefit patients and their
A PHYSICIAN SHALL seek appropriate care and attention if he/she suffers from mental or physical
A PHYSICIAN SHALL respect the local and national codes of ethics.
DUTIES OF PHYSICIANS TO PATIENTS
A PHYSICIAN SHALL always bear in mind the obligation to respect human life.
A PHYSICIAN SHALL act in the patient’s best interest when providing medical care.
A PHYSICIAN SHALL owe his/her patients complete loyalty and all the scientific resources available
to him/her. Whenever an examination or treatment is beyond the physician’s capacity, he/she
should consult with or refer to another physician who has the necessary ability.
A PHYSICIAN SHALL respect a patient’s right to confidentiality. It is ethical to disclose confidential
information when the patient consents to it or when there is a real and imminent threat of harm to
the patient or to others and this threat can be only removed by a breach of confidentiality.
A PHYSICIAN SHALL give emergency care as a humanitarian duty unless he/she is assured that
others are willing and able to give such care.
A PHYSICIAN SHALL, in situations when he/she is acting for a third party, ensure that the patient
has full knowledge of that situation.
A PHYSICIAN SHALL not enter into a sexual relationship with his/her current patient or into any
other abusive or exploitative relationship.
DUTIES OF PHYSICIANS TO COLLEAGUES
A PHYSICIAN SHALL behave towards colleagues as he/she would have them behave towards
A PHYSICIAN SHALL NOT undermine the patient-physician relationship of colleagues in order to
A PHYSICIAN SHALL, when medically necessary, communicate with colleagues who are involved
in the care of the same patient. This communication should respect patient confidentiality and be
confined to necessary information.
WORLD MEDICAL ASSOCIATION