Since it was founded in 1947, a central objective of the WMA has been to establish and promote the highest possible standards of ethical behaviour and care by physicians. In pursuit of this goal, the WMA has adopted global policy statements on a range of ethical issues related to medical professionalism, patient care, research on human subjects and public health. WMA Council and its standing committees regularly review and update existing policies and continually develop new policy on emerging ethical issues.
The WMA serves as a clearinghouse of ethics information resources for its members and cooperates with academic institutions and global organizations concerned ethical matters, as well as individual experts in the field of medical ethics.
The WMA has adopted numerous policies that are recognized internationally as the global ethical standard for the topics they address. The following selection represents some of the most important ethics policies of the WMA.