Nuremberg Code

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For the set of guidelines for determining what constitutes a war crime, see Nuremberg Principles. For the denaturalization of German Jews, see Nuremberg Laws.

The Nuremberg Code is a set of research ethics principles for human experimentation set as a result of the Subsequent Nuremberg Trials at the end of the Second World War.

Background[edit]

On August 20, 1947,[1] the judges delivered their verdict in the "Doctors' Trial" against Karl Brandt and 22 others.[1] These trials focused on doctors involved in the human experiments in concentration camps.[2] The suspects were involved in over 3,500,000 sterilizations of German citizens.[2] The trials began on December 9, 1946 in Nuremberg, Germany and were led exclusively by the United States. Harry Truman approved these trials in January 1946.[3] Most of the suspects escaped punishment for their crimes.[4] Several of the accused argued that their experiments differed little from pre-war ones and that there was no law that differentiated between legal and illegal experiments.

In May of the same year, Dr. Leo Alexander had submitted to the Counsel for War Crimes six points defining legitimate medical research. The trial verdict adopted these points and added an extra four. The ten points constituted the "Nuremberg Code". Although the legal force of the document was not established and it was not incorporated directly into either the American or German law, the Nuremberg Code and the related[5] Declaration of Helsinki are the basis for the Code of Federal Regulations Title 45 Volume 46,[6] which are the regulations issued by the United States Department of Health and Human Services governing federally funded human subjects research in the United States. In addition, the Nuremberg code has also been incorporated into the law of individual states such as California and other countries.[citation needed]

The Nuremberg code includes such principles as informed consent and absence of coercion; properly formulated scientific experimentation; and beneficence towards experiment participants.

The ten points of the Nuremberg Code[edit]

These are:

1. Required is the voluntary, well-informed, understanding consent of the human subject in a full legal capacity.

2. The experiment should aim at positive results for society that cannot be procured in some other way.

3. It should be based on previous knowledge (like, an expectation derived from animal experiments) that justifies the experiment.

4. The experiment should be set up in a way that avoids unnecessary physical and mental suffering and injuries.

5. It should not be conducted when there is any reason to believe that it implies a risk of death or disabling injury.

6. The risks of the experiment should be in proportion to (that is, not exceed) the expected humanitarian benefits.

7. Preparations and facilities must be provided that adequately protect the subjects against the experiment’s risks.

8. The staff who conduct or take part in the experiment must be fully trained and scientifically qualified.

9. The human subjects must be free to immediately quit the experiment at any point when they feel physically or mentally unable to go on.

10. Likewise, the medical staff must stop the experiment at any point when they observe that continuation would be dangerous.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Annas, George J., and Michael A. Grodin. The Nazi Doctors and the Nuremberg Code. New York, NY: Oxford University Press Inc., 1992. Print.
  2. ^ a b "Eugenics/Euthanasia". ABC-CLIO. Retrieved 2013-09-16. 
  3. ^ http://www.stanford.edu/group/psylawseminar/The%20Nuremburg%20Code.htm
  4. ^ Annas, George J. "The Review of: The Nazis Doctors and the Nuremberg Code: Human Rights in Human Experimentation". Johns Hopkins University Press. Retrieved 2013-09-18. 
  5. ^ Hurren, Elizabeth (May 2002). "Patients' rights: from Alder Hey to the Nuremberg Code". History & Policy. United Kingdom: History & Policy. Retrieved 9 December 2010. 
  6. ^ "Public Welfare". Access.gpo.gov. 2000-10-01. Retrieved 2013-08-31. 

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