Science Policy Committee Requests Input on World Medical Association Draft Declaration on Biobanks

April 11th, 2015 in Committee Update
Marianna Bledsoe, Co-Chair ISBER Science Policy Committee

Today, the World Medical Association (WMA) issued for public comment the draft WMA Declaration on Ethical Considerations regarding Health Databases and Biobanks.

The draft will be a very important document for the ISBER community to give input on.  It provides general ethical principles which should be followed for health databases and biobanks as well as specific requirements for the use of broad consent in conjunction with governance mechanisms.  It also proposes a provision for a waiver of consent but only in cases of public health.

The document can be downloaded from the following link:

See also:

Comments are due to the WMA secretariat on June 5, 2015.

The WMA is a global federation of National Medical Associations.  It represents millions of physicians worldwide. As indicated on the WMA website, one of the major objectives of the Association has been to promote the highest possible standards of ethical behavior and care by physicians. The WMA has adopted global policy statements on numerous ethical issues, including research on human subjects.   These Declarations have been recognized internationally as global ethical standards for the topics they address; one such example with which you may be familiar is the Declaration of Helsinki.

The ISBER Science Policy Committee will be reviewing and providing comments on the document, but we would appreciate hearing your comments as well.  You may e-mail them to me at  You may also choose to comment individually by sending your comments directly to the WMA secretariat per the instructions on their website at the link above or through other channels available to you.

Thank you for your attention to this important document.  We look forward to hearing your comments.

One Response to Science Policy Committee Requests Input on World Medical Association Draft Declaration on Biobanks

  1. Point 18. should be clarified. The preamble should include a definition of “conditional broad consent” in contrast with “blanket or open consent”. It is one of the most controversial aspects of data sharing and informed consent.

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