December 28

1948–1980s — Civilian Medical Experiments

1948: The American Medical Association endorsed research on prisoners
The American Medical Association endorsed research on prisoners — provided consent is not coerced with knowledge of potential risks; prior animal studies and knowledge of natural history of the disease; must be expected to yield results not otherwise obtainable; must be conducted by scientifically qualified personal; avoid unnecessary physical or emotional suffering; there must be no reason to believe that death or disabling injury would occur. Following AMA’s endorsement much of NIH’s budget was earmarked for research on prisoners — until 1976 when such research was banned. (J of Amer. Psych and Law, 2013)

By the late 1940s and 1950s, prisoners were the experimental subjects of choice, both for the expanding U.S. pharmaceutical and health care industries and government. Indeed, most of the federal funding was earmarked for research on prisoners. (McDermott, J of Amer. Psych and Law, 2013)


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