Moral Outrage
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US medical researchers conducting human experimentation in Africa

A new policy brief faults prominent institutions and drug companies like Pfizer, Columbia University, Johns Hopkins University, and Population Council, for their involvement in unethical and illegal human experimentation in Africa.

The report, titled “Non-Consensual Research in Africa: The Outsourcing of Tuskegee”, details human experiments led by US researchers and drug companies on Africans who are typically undereducated, poor, and lack full understanding of their rights. The human subjects often are led to believe that they are receiving medical treatment from governmental health services or health ministries.

These practices hearken back to the appalling experiments carried out by US researchers in Guatemala in the 1940s where
hundreds of Guatemalans were deliberately infected with sexually transmitted diseases without information or consent.

In one experiment in Nigeria led by Pfizer physicians, researchers injected children with an antibiotic called Trovan during a meningitis outbreak without providing their families with informed consent forms that fully disclose the side effects and purpose of the experiment. Eleven children died and many were left paralyzed.

In South Africa and Namibia, mothers with HIV/AIDS are routinely sterilized without their informed consent. Countries that perform these procedures are known to receive funding in the form of grants and incentives from USAID and other aid organizations.

The report explains that US researchers and drug companies violate the laws and protocols of the Declaration at Helsinki (1964) and the Belmont Report which provide ethical guidelines on human experimentation.

[Excerpt of PBFC article by Farid Zakaria]

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