World Medical Association (WMA)

The World Medical Association was founded in 1947 with the aim of promoting cooperation between medical organisations across the world. Since then, its membership has grown from an initial 27 organisations to 95. Individual physicians may also become Associate Members of the WMA.

The WMA Council, which is composed of national representatives, convenes two times a year. It passes resolutions and acts as an advisory body to the medical profession worldwide. Central to the role of the WMA is the physician-patient relationship and, above all, the issue of patient safety. The Declaration of Geneva of the WMA is an integral part of most professional codes of practice in Germany, whereas the Declaration of Helsinki sets the benchmark for clinical trials on human beings and has been influential in the formation of German drug law. The WMA’s International Code of Medical Ethics outlines the physician’s duties toward patients, other physicians, health professionals and society as a whole.

The declarations, statements and resolutions of the WMA embrace a broad range of ethical and social issues relating to the medical profession, including determination of death, abortion, corporal punishment, the abuse of psychotropic drugs, risks of tobacco consumption, as well as problems caused by changes to the environment, demography and human rights violations.