Code of Ethics of the GTFCh
PreambleFounded in 1978, the Society for Toxicological and Forensic Chemistry (GTFCh) is a scientifically specialised society whose members are active in the fields of forensic toxicology, clinical toxicology and forensic chemistry. The GTFCh offers its members a forum for further education and quality assurance. As expert opinions and investigations can lead to far-reaching legal and medical consequences for those affected, a high degree of personal responsibility is required from the GTFCh's members. The following ethical guidelines determine the behaviour of the society and its members – both towards each other and externally.
1. Professional integrityThe members of the society foster co-operative relationships with each other, which are built on honesty and politeness. All colleagues who contribute to the extension and perfecting of knowledge should receive due recognition. Any improper use of titles whatsoever is not allowed. During all investigations and assessments, attention must be paid to the protection of the privacy of the people affected.
2. ResearchThe results of the research must be made accessible to the scientific community. A correct, complete and clear account plays a large part in avoiding false interpretations. Manipulation of data is strictly forbidden. Work already published by other authors in the same area of research must be cited. The decision to carry out research projects requires ascertaining any foreseeable scientific and non-scientific consequences as well as possible harm to those involved. When investigations are performed on humans, the Helsinki declarations must be observed. Animal experiments must be minimised, and pain, stress and privation kept to a minimum.
3. Further EducationResponsible professional work demands a high degree of specialist competence. The members are urged to support the activities of the GTFCh and to participate in organised events in order to continuously further their education and maintain a state-of-the-art level of knowledge.
4. CompetenceThe members are only permitted to compile expert reports, perform services and carry out assignments for which they possess the pertinent specialist competence. Professional work must be proven via continuous quality assurance.
5. SafetyDuring daily work, work safety must be ensured. Exposure to danger, noise pollution, disturbance of ecosystems and the use of non-renewable resources must be kept to a minimum.
6. Expert OpinionsThe members are obliged to reflect the trust they are shown. They strive to work with the utmost rationality, care, conscientiousness and objectiveness in the knowledge that their actions may to an extent have serious consequences for individuals and the society. Constructing expert opinions as a favour is undignified. For a decisive expert opinion, the question concerning errors should be answered as clearly and unambiguously as possible. Not the colleague himself but the findings constitute the basis of the verdict.
7. Confidentiality of Information / Obligation to DiscretionSpecial attention must be paid to the privacy of information. Whenever results are published, individual personal data must be encrypted in such a way that the identification of those involved is rendered impossible. Information may only be divulged to the client, confidentiality being observed in all other cases.
8. ViolationsViolations of this code of ethics are dealt with by the executive committee. It decides on possible consequences, which can lead to expulsion from the society.
The code of ethics was adopted by the GTFCh's executive committee on the 26th July 2000 in Frankfurt /Main.
(In any case of doubt, only the German version is legally binding)