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Press Release 01/2014 Ethics councils from Germany, Austria and Switzerland discuss child welfare, compulsory vaccination and bio-banks

Representatives of the German Ethics Council (Deutscher Ethikrat), the Austrian Bioethics Commission at the Federal Chancellery (Bioethikkommission beim Bundeskanzleramt), and the Swiss National Advisory Commission on Biomedical Ethics (Nationale Ethikkommission im Bereich der Humanmedizin) convened in Berlin for their second joint session on 11 March 2014. The President of the German Federal Parliament (Bundestag), Professor Dr. Norbert Lammert, had already welcomed the group in the Bundestag on the eve of the meeting and emphasised the significance of ethics discussions both for politics and for mutual understanding within Europe.

Press Release 06/2013 Does neuroimaging change the way we see ourselves?

This was the central question posed by the German Ethics Council during its autumn conference at the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts, which was attended by over 250 people. What does neuroimaging reveal about a person’s personality, about what he or she is experiencing and about his or her behaviour? Can neuroimaging make a contribution towards the diagnosis of psychological ailments and the adjudication of offenders? What challenges arise in the field of medical ethics as a result of unexpected findings or untreatable ailments coming to light?

Press Release 04/2013 Pharmaceutical research, but at whose expense?

How can participants in pharmaceutical studies be protected and ethical standards be effectively enforced in the global context? How can research quality be ensured in a global context? Are ethics committees suited to and necessary for the protection of test subjects? What ethical standards should European research projects take into account? It was to questions such as these and others that the German Ethics Council sought answers at its 2013 annual meeting in Berlin last Thursday, in the course of which it held discussions with around 300 delegates.

Press Release 03/2013 The German Ethics Council presents its Opinion on the future of genetic diagnosis

In response to a commission by the Federal Government, the German Ethics Council has compiled an Opinion on the future of genetic diagnosis. On the basis of the right of people affected by a genetic test to know, their right not to know and their right of informational self-determination, the Council recommends in particular measures for the improvement of information, explanation and counselling. Other proposed requirements include special provisions on the conduct of prenatal genetic diagnosis, protection of those lacking the capacity to give consent, the quality of genetic tests and their funding within the healthcare system. The Council not only offers recommendations for political and legislative action, but also aspires to stimulate public debate on future developments in genetic diagnosis.