On the Nuremberg Code

Harriet Washington, the author of Medical Apartheid (another book on my list of things to one day read) and the new book Deadly Monopolies, recently wrote an article that posits how the Nuremberg Code…”is routinely being ignored” in The New Scientist (and crossposted at Slate). She identifies several studies in the United States that don’t require informed consent.

Here’s how studies in the US are able to conduct studies sans consent:

Since the 1980s, around 20 U.S. research projects have won legal waivers allowing them to bypass any form of consent. From 1990 until 2005, for example, the Department of Defense obtained a waiver that allowed it to force 8.9 million ground troops to accept inoculation with experimental anthrax vaccines.

She mentions at the end of the article how more medical companies are seeking to conduct their studies in parts of the developing world due to the lower cost and highlights a Nigerian study that was brought to court for failing to obtain consent. Having finished Immortal Life, and knowing how tissue samples are currently obtained, will there be more litigation regarding consent and right of ownership in our future?


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