Historical perspectives and their significant impact on the development of ethical standards governing research using human participants



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SUNY Cortland, IRB



HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES AND THEIR SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF ETHICAL STANDARDS GOVERNING RESEARCH USING HUMAN PARTICIPANTS

The following narratives are extracted from Cynthia Mcguire Dunn & Gary Chadwick Protecting Study Volunteers in Research: A Manual for Investigative Sites (1999) CenterWatch, Inc., University of Rochester Medical Center, 1999, p 2-4.


There have been slight adaptations by Amy Henderson-Harr.

I. Background

The Nuremberg Doctors Trial of 1946

At the beginning of WWII, Germany was the most scientifically and technologically advanced country in the world and even had a proposed code of research ethics. In the field of medicine, the Nazi government supported midwifery, homeopathy and nutrition programs as well as research into ecology, public health, human genetics, cancer, radiation and asbestos. They were the first to ban smoking in public buildings. Women were denied tobacco ration coupons because of concern about the effect of nicotine on the fetus. German physicians stressed the importance of preventive medicine rather than curative medicine. The Nazis, however, exploited people’s trust in physicians to disguise discrimination and murder as public health.



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