For more than a quarter of a century, biology and medicine have made substantial progress, raising completely new questions for all healthcare actors, that were even unimaginable only a few years ago. These questions are not only scientific or technical; they also concern the values of humanity, the « meaning » of many medical practices, made suddenly possible. Alongside this extremely rapid evolution of genetics, biology and medicine, a more explicit attention has been paid to the « healthcare worker-patient » relationship, and therefore to the various facets of the care relationship and more generally to the technical and practical aspects of the concept of medical ethics. For this reason, we have witnessed the emergence of « ethics committees » in some hospitals, and these committees have been gradually provided for in the legislation of many countries, particularly in North America and Europe.
In Lebanon, and after the enactment in 1994 of Law No. 288 « Code of Medical Ethics », Law No. 574 on « Patients’ Rights and Informed Consent » was enacted in 2004. The latter, in Article 11 thereof related to clinical research, expressly provides for the existence of an « ethics committee » in each hospital.
The HDF Ethic Committee was established in 1998 thanks to Father Jean Ducruet (1922-2010), Director of the USJ University Ethics Center since 1995. He was then appointed in 2001 Vice-President of the Lebanese National Consultative Committee on Ethics. That same year, the statutes of the HDF Ethics Committee, followed by its bylaws, were set up in 2001. These statutes were in line with the laws on patient rights and informed consent of February 11, 2004.
Following Decision No. 1/141 of the Minister of Public Health dated January 27, 2016, the decision « concerning the establishment of a mechanism for the adoption by Ethics Committees of clinical trials and research that involve human subjects, the HDF Ethics Committee received ministerial accreditation.
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