Nuremberg Code and Human Medical Experiments
The Nuremberg Code was drafted to protect humans from medical experiments based on exploitation of prisoners by German scientists and physicians during World War II. Ten (10) elements of Code:
- Voluntary consent is essential
- The results of any experiment must be for the greater good of society
- Human experiments should be based on previous animal experimentation
- Experiments should be conducted by avoiding physical/mental suffering and injury
- No experiments should be conducted if it is believed to cause death/disability
- The risks should never exceed the benefits
- Adequate facilities should be used to protect subjects
- Experiments should be conducted only by qualified scientists
- Subjects should be able to end their participation at any time
- The scientist in charge must be prepared to terminate the experiment when injury, disability, or death is likely to occur
Expanded Nuremberg Code principles include the Declaration of Helsinki, the Belmont Report and the Common Rule. The International Compilation of Human Research Standards describes over 1,000 laws and regulations regarding human subjects research in over 100 countries and ethical standards from international and regional organizations. United States federal law prohibits universities and institutions that receive federal funds from conducting experiments on human subjects without clear informed consent. In 1975, the United States passed a law for the Protection of Human Subjects: Title 45 of the Code of Federal Regulations (45 CFR 46).
Many assert the time is ripe to update and expand civil and criminal laws to protect humans from medical experiments (including psychological manipulation) from both national governments and private organizations. While modern political and legal systems should balance public health against individual human rights, leaders, policy makers and judges need better training to weigh and evaluate scientific evidence to ensure high quality decision making. Data science can help leaders and judges weigh evidence to optimally protect human rights.
Human rights and civil liberties are critical to a high quality of life and to ensure a better future.