ALLIANCE FOR HUMAN RESEARCH PROTECTION (AHRP)
Promoting Openness, Full Disclosure, and Accountability
Statement by Vera Hassner Sharav
Founder & President, AHRP
April 1, 2005
Anthrax Band Reunion Press Conference
New York City
My name is Vera Hassner Sharav, and I am president of The Alliance for Human Research Protection: a national human rights organization that exposes unethical research practices which undermine the dignity, rights, and safety of human subjects.
In 1947, an American military tribunal sat in judgment of the Nazi doctors at Nuremberg, and laid down ten essential principles that define “permissible medical experiments” in a civilized society. Those principles are enshrined in the Nuremberg Code which is the cornerstone of all medical research ethics. The nations of the world adopted the Code as a safeguard to prevent future medical atrocities.
The foremost ethical principle of the Nuremberg Code is the right to voluntary, informed consent by a legally competent individual.
Informed consent is “absolutely essential” for all research involving human subjects.
The right to say no to medical experiments is an inalienable human right – it is what sets humans apart from lab rats and guinea pigs.
We are here to alert you that our government is systematically sidestepping international standards, and changing national research protection policies to accommodate the chemical, pharmaceutical and pesticide industries. Those policy changes threaten the fabric of our society–they affect not only soldiers, they affect children, the disabled, and anyone who is uninformed, powerless, or even temporarily incapacitated.
The FDA has waived individual consent for emergency research, substituting so-called “community consent” – a clear violation of the Nuremberg Code.
There are many examples of research abuse and violations of informed consent – including an artificial blood experiment being conducted today on unconscious trauma patients. The safety of the artificial blood has not been proven. In an earlier experiment testing artificial blood, 43 people died.
In another experiment, 861 patients with severe lung injury were enrolled – without their consent – in a government-sponsored experiment that resulted in the death of at least 47 people who would have otherwise lived.
Infants and children have suffered; some have died in government sponsored experiments that tested drugs and vaccines, including multiple AIDS drug cocktails. Even though some of these drugs were known to have lethal side effects, at least 100 children in NYC foster care, were used as human guinea pigs in 36 experiments testing the safety of toxic experimental AIDS drugs.
Parents who refused to give their permission were threatened with loss of custody. And if the children refused to comply or were unable to swallow, a plastic feeding tube was surgically inserted in their stomach to ensure compliance.
The US government has recently put its seal of approval on human pesticide experiments – which violate the standards of “permissible medical experiments.”
The EPA, in collaboration with the American Chemical Council is targeting 60 African-American babies in Duval County, Georgia to test the effects of pesticides in infants and children–even though exposure to pesticides increases the risk of cancer, and can damage children’s mental development and their immune system.
The experiment is called CHEERS (Children’s environmental exposure research study). The government is offering parents $970, plus a video camera, blank tapes and a VCR as inducements to permit their children to be used as human guinea pigs.
The administration’s nominee to head the EPA, Stephen Johnson, is a strong supporter of human pesticide experiments, including the CHEERS children experiment. In our opinion, anyone who supports human pesticide experiments is not the right choice to head the EPA.
The documented evidence shows that government officials whose agency mission is to protect the public health from harmful drugs, vaccines, and unethical medical research are, in fact, the very agents that have opened the gate to medical atrocities.
Under a new government plan all American children will be screened for presumed mental health problems. Screening will increase the use of mind-altering drugs such as: Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil–which are so dangerous, they carry a black box warning about an increased risk of violent and suicidal behavior.
Support our efforts to stop these travesties. Join AHRP. Learn more by visiting www.ahrp.org
Contact: Vera Sharav