Dilemma of Ethics at the World Medical Association (Medical Horizons)

Aly A. Misha'l


The World Medical Association (WMA) was
founded in 1947, as a response to the egregious
abuses by German and Japanese doctors in World
War II, and their unethical participation in
research on humans, and torture of prisoners.
The first task of WMA was the foundation of
ethical codes for the world medical doctors in
their professional conduct of medical practice and
Since then, WMA has become the world
authority in bioethical standards.
In 1964, WMA established the (Declaration of
Helsinki) which has become the cornerstone of
conduct in medical practice and research. To this
day, the Declaration has proudly stood the test of
time as the world policy statement in bioethical
conduct. It has been amended six times to face
evolving medical and research issues, the most
recent amendment has been in October 2008.
Membership in WMA has been open for medical
societies from all parts of the world, many of
which have signed and abided by its covenant.
Since its establishment, WMA’s general
assembly, in collaboration with its ethical bodies,
undertook elections of WMA successive
presidents, from among doctors with
distinguished records in adopting sound ethical
standards in their respective national medical

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