The Declaration of Helsinki is a formal statement of ethical principles published by the World Medical Association (WMA) to guide the protection of human participants in medical research. The Declaration is not a legally binding document but has served as a foundation for national and regional laws governing medical research across the world. Although not without its controversies, the Declaration has served as the standard in medical research ethics since its establishment in 1964.

History and Current Status

Before World War II, no formal international statement of ethical principles to guide research with human participants existed, leaving researchers to rely on organizational, regional, or national policies or their own personal ethical guidelines. After atrocities were found to have been committed by Nazi medical researchers using involuntary, unprotected ...

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