The World Medical Association (WMA) is proud to announce the partnership with the American Medical Association (USA) and the Pontifical Academy for Life for the organization of a significant Conference on the Revision of the Declaration of Helsinki. This pivotal event, taking place on 18-19 January at the Old Synod Hall in Vatican City, will focus on medical research and experimentation in resource-poor settings.
The Declaration of Helsinki, initially drafted in 1964 by the General Assembly of the World Medical Association, serves as a foundational ethical guide for human experimentation in the medical profession. In 2022, recognizing the evolving landscape of healthcare, the WMA appointed a working group to commence the revision process. To ensure a diverse and global perspective, the WMA initiated a series of regional conferences, with the upcoming Vatican conference being a crucial milestone.
WMA President, Dr. Lujain AlQodmani, emphasized the commitment to advancing global healthcare, especially in areas where vulnerable populations are most affected. “The critical examination of medical research in low-resource settings aligns with WMA’s commitment to ensuring ethical and responsible conduct of medical research globally”, Dr. AlQodmani stated.
SE. Abp. Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, underscored the collaboration between PAV and WMA. He notes, “This cooperation is an important signal of dialogue and search for a shared ethic in a world that is too fragmented today.”
Msgr. Renzo Pegoraro, PAV Chancellor, highlighted the challenges of the conference’s theme, on the 60th anniversary of the Declaration of Helsinki, bringing on ethical challenges in biomedical research involving human beings. “We need to ask ourselves how to make results available to populations in resource-poor countries while continuing to provide them an access to technologies and drugs. The perspective is to foster a real cooperation on an international scale to better share research burdens and results. PAV feels committed to this positive and constructive spirit with the WMA, for a revival and possible revision of the Declaration of Helsinki that takes this perspective into account”, added Msgr. Pegoraro.
Dr. Jung Yul Park, WMA Council Chair, highligted the conference’s focus on addressing the ethical challenges of conducting medical research in environments with limited resources. “We must balance the pursuit of scientific knowledge with the ethical responsibility of safeguarding the well-being of participants,” stated Dr. Park. He emphasized the importance of ensuring continued access to medical care for research participants after the conclusion of studies.
The conference aims to address fundamental questions such as preconditions for ensuring the integrity and reliability of research in resource-poor countries and ways to make research results available to those populations. The collaboration between WMA, AMA, and PAV seeks to foster international cooperation for a meaningful revision of the Declaration of Helsinki, reflecting the challenges and needs of diverse global communities.