"Non-Consenting Adults"

"The Nuremberg Code, set up to protect the human subjects of research, is being routinely ignored."


"Sixty-five years ago in Nuremberg, Germany, American prosecutors confronted the Nazi physicians who had subjected Jews and others to a murderous regime of medical research. The 'doctors' trial' was the first of the war crimes trials; one of its outcomes was the famous Nuremberg Code, a set of ethical guidelines for human experimentation.

The first tenet of the code is very clear: 'The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential.'

Today, the Nuremberg Code is the most important influence on U.S. law governing human medical research. Even so, marginalized groups have frequently been coerced into studies that violate their right to consent. A recent review of the bioethics of human research in the U.S. offers little prospect for change."

Harriet A. Washington reports for Slate January 22, 2012.

Source: Slate, 01/23/2012