The World Medical Association (WMA) celebrates its 50th anniversary this month. Founded in 1947 by physicians from 27 different countries, WMA remain determined to achieve the highest international standards in medical education, science, art, ethics, and healthcare.
One of the most important accomplishments of the organization was the development of the Declaration of Helsinki which forever changed clinical research for the better. The Declaration expands on the ten principles necessary for ethical human experimentation first set in the Nuremberg Code and is generally regarded as the cornerstone document of human research ethics.
According to WMA’s website, the Declaration of Helsinki stems from the “post World War II era when there were major concerns over the state of medical ethics in general and over the world. The WMA took up the responsibility for setting ethical guidelines for the world physicians.”
The Declaration of Helsinki focuses on:
- Respect for the subject
- Right to self-determination
- Right to make informed decisions regarding research participation
Although the document has gone through many revisions since its inception, it continues to stand as a clear and powerful statement that the rights of the human subject should never be compromised for the sake of science.
It’s amazing to look back and see where the journey of clinical research as a whole. As the trek continues, we must keep these guiding principles in the forefront of our minds. Please share your thoughts on what steps our industry can take to never lose the mindset of patients above science.
Photo Credit: nhanusek