January 20, 1975

Panel discusses ethics of studies on humans—especially the poor

JAMA. 1975;231(3):233-240. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03240150001001

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Panel discusses ethics of studies on humans—especially the poor  It was a kind of bitter irony that, on the day a federal court awarded damages to the patients in that now-famous Tuskeegee, Ala, syphilis study, a National Academy of Sciences panel began considering what should be done about medical experimentation on the poor.The Tuskeegee study is one of the most "egregiously wrong" examples of experimenting on the poor, said Jay Katz, MD, professor of law and psychiatry at Yale University.Dr. Katz is a member of both the NAS panel, and of the ad hoc group that advised the Department of Health, Education and Welfare to stop the Tuskeegee Study, which had been started by the Public Health Service in 1932. The study was stopped in 1972.The poor are a people deprived, "socially, culturally, and politically, as well as economically," said Franz J. Ingelfinger, MD, editor of