THE ETHICAL BOARD, AT THE CROSSROADS OF LEGISLATION AND ETHICS
The Ethical Board advises the Agence de la biomédecine regarding the respect of patients and donors and about the application of ethical principles to its activities.
Medical progress involves more than just technical innovation ; it cannot be pursued without the respect of patients’ inalienable right of dignity. Professor Patrick Niaudet, President of the Ethical Board summarises : “Innovations involving therapeutic products of human origin often raise ethical questions. It is essential that healthcare professionals and members of the public and civil society examine the medical and scientific issues involved and that their substantiated opinion is taken into account”.
A WATCHDOG BODY
The Ethical Board, created by the Bioethics Law, has two missions. On the one hand it verifies the coherence of the medical and scientific policy of the Agence and on the other hand it ensures that the Agence’s activities respect its underlying legal and ethical principles.
The opinion of the Ethical Board is sought by the Director General prior to the taking of many important decisions and, specifically prior to all decisions authorising human embryo and embryonic stem cell research and the activities of Prenatal Diagnostic multidisciplinary teams and Pre Implantation Genetic Diagnosis centres.
MEMBERS FROM DIVERSE BACKGROUNDS
The twenty five members of the Ethical Advisory board are appointed by the minister of health for a three year period. They are chosen among scientific and medical experts, representatives of non-governmental organisations, personalities in the fields of social, political, moral or human sciences and members of such bodies as the National Consultative Committee on Ethics or the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights.