The history and foundations of medical research ethics

Published on April 28, 2022   32 min

Other Talks in the Category: Pharmaceutical Sciences

0:00
Dear audience, it is a pleasure for me to give you a presentation on the History and Foundations of Medical Research Ethics today. My name is Christian Lenk, I'm a Professor of Medical Ethics at the Institute for the History, Theory and Ethics of Medicine at Ulm University, Germany.
0:21
You see here the table of contents for my talk. Firstly, I will give you a short historical introduction. Secondly, I will go on to the time after WW2 through the development of the Nuremberg Code, and also the further development of medical research ethics after WW2. I will then go into the elements of consent in part 3. Finally, in part 4 I will go into the details regarding ethical regulations of medical research according to the Declaration of Helsinki from the World's Medical Association.
1:04
Firstly, the historic introduction. The first regulations of medical research arose in the 1930s in Germany and the United States. It started with some cases where patients were enlisted into medical experiments and this posed some problems because it was not for the advantage of these patients, and so the state authorities had to see that the regulation of this research was necessary and also reasonable. Then in the follow-up of these experiments, they established a duty of adequate information and also a right of the patients for voluntary consent. Already at this time, patients should receive adequate information and should also give their consent. A special problem, before the 1930s was the recruitment of marginalised groups like orphans, prisoners or prostitutes for medical research. For example, in the case of syphilis research in Germany, there was the case of Professor Neisser who recruited healthy women and then inoculated syphilis into their bodies, so that they became syphilitic in the end. This was seen as acceptable by the state authorities. These marginalised groups, all these groups in society, seemed to need special protection regarding medical research. Following this, it emerged as a legal rule that faulty, incomplete or missing patient information can result in negligence or injury towards research participants. The idea behind this is as follows. Normally, one needs the full information about the measures of therapy or research. For example, if somebody takes blood or other research measures, and if the participants are not properly informed, they cannot consent to such an intervention, to the body or the mind. Therefore, this seems to be unacceptable and can be interpreted as a 'damage' or an 'injury' towards these research participants. An important period for the development of research ethics
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The history and foundations of medical research ethics

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