The „Arbeitskreis Medizinischer Ethik-Kommissionen in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland e.V." (AK EK, Permanent Working Party of Research Ethics Committees in Germany) established in 1983, harmonises the activities of the ethics commissions, particularly in the decision making and procedural issues. It offers further training on the work of ethics commissions and promotes the exchange of ideas and experience on a national and international level. It takes a stand on issues of the ethics commissions in public discourse.
Its members currently include 50 out of the 52 ethics commissions formed under national law. The results of the Working Party protect patients, test persons and researchers.
The Biobanks Working Group of AK EK has drafted a sample text for the donation, storage and use of biomaterials as well as for the collection, processing and extensive use of data in biobanks; the corresponding documents are also available in English. All documents can be found on the website of the AK EK.