Public consultation on a draft revised version of the International Code of Medical Ethics

The draft of a revised version of the International Code of Medical Ethics (ICoME) is now open for public consultation and may be downloaded below.

The revision process so far

The International Code of Medical Ethics was adopted by the World Medical Association (WMA) in 1949 as a complement to the newly adopted Declaration of Geneva: The Physician’s Pledge (DoG). The ICoME outlines the guidelines, norms, and central duties of the medical profession. It is a powerful document with great potential in its own right and therefore deserves the same level of exposure and recognition as the DoG or the Declaration of Helsinki (DoH).

Since its adoption, the ICoME has been amended three times – most recently in 2006. In 2018, on the heels of the adoption of the revised DoG in 2017, the World Medical Association formed a workgroup to begin a careful long-term review of the ICoME with due consideration for the gravity of this document. The mandate of this workgroup is to update the ICoME to be more compatible with the revised DoG and the full spectrum of WMA policy, as well as to explain some of the concepts in the revised DoG in further detail.

Workgroup members and observers representing more than 15 countries have reviewed the document carefully to determine what might be missing from the ICoME, what might be superfluous, what could potentially be organised differently.

The revised draft presented here is the result of the workgroup’s careful analysis, along with feedback received during regional conferences in Kuwait and Brazil (with further regional conferences in the African and Asian regions postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic), a WMA Associate Members webinar, and during the annual meeting of the International Association of Bioethics in 2020.

In April 2021, the Council of the WMA approved this draft version for public consultation.

How to participate in the public consultation

The WMA kindly invites all experts and stakeholders to submit comments on this draft version via email to the WMA secretariat at no later than 28 May 2021. The workgroup will thoroughly review all comments and consider all input; however, please note that it may not be possible to take all the suggestions received into account in the new draft declaration.

The current version of the ICoME is available here and the new draft revised version can be downloaded here.

Due to time considerations, we regret that it will not be possible to provide documentation or consider comments submitted in languages other than English.

All submissions will be kept on file and may be made available to members of the public upon request to the WMA following completion of the revision process.