Human Experimentation Rampant in the United States | New Eastern Outlook: The issue of informed consent was central to the The Doctors Trials at Nuremberg, where twenty German doctors who experimented on Jews and others, often fatally, were tried and sentenced. What emerged from the Trials was the Nuremberg Code, which mandates that experimental subjects be given information about the nature of the experiment and the right to refuse.
The Nuremberg Code, however, remains a recommendation, not a law.
Some of these current experiments run by the United States are taking place within the borders of the US and some are taking place in foreign countries, with pharmaceutical and defense agencies as primary perpetrators.
As an act of apparent damage control following the 1994 disclosures of US radiation experiments during the Cold War, President Bill Clinton produced a memo, lodged in the Federal Register, calling for strengthened protections for human subjects.
These radiation experiments exposed US citizens to high levels of radiation, without informing them of the risks. According to reports, the radiation caused the deaths of a number of the experimental subjects.
Clinton subsequently established an Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments to review reports and recommend ways to prevent further unethical research from taking place in the future.
The Advisory Committee’s recommendations included mandating informed consent of all human subjects, among other recommendations. However, the Committee�s recommendations were never acted upon. And informed consent, which constitutes the core of the Nuremberg Code, was never codified into law.
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