Press Release 08/2008

The German Ethics Council decides on its agenda for 2009

At its plenary meeting of 11 December 2008 the German Ethics Council adopted its agenda for 2009.

The Ethics Council plans to publish its Opinion on the anonymous use of baby drops by the end of June 2009. The Council's internal working group will present a draft to the full membership on 26 February, thereby following up two prior plenary debates. After an initial discussion on 26 June 2008 the Ethics Council had invited external experts to a public hearing on 23 October, at which they reported on their experience of anonymous birth and baby drops in terms of their individual disciplines.

Biobanks will be the subject of the Ethics Council's second Opinion. The Council's reflections are prompted by the significant changes resulting from the growing links between biobanks, which call for a fresh ethical and legal consideration. The working group set up to address this issue will revisit the National Ethics Council's 2004 Opinion Biobanks for Research and update it to take account of recent developments.

In addition, working groups on the subjects of chimera and hybrid formation and resource allocation in healthcare are being established, to structure and prepare for longer-term consideration of these matters.

The next public meeting in the "Bioethics Forum" series is scheduled for 25 February. The subject is "Preventive medicine: legal and ethical aspects". The annual meeting on 28 May 2009, under the heading "Are human beings controllable? A look inside the brain and ways of modifying its function", will address recent developments in the neurosciences.