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November 6, 1967

The Use of Prisoners for Medical Research

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospitals, University of Iowa, Iowa City.

JAMA. 1967;202(6):513-515. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130190119018

The moral and ethical implications and the practical operating code we have developed in Iowa were described by one of us in a University of London lecture on July 14, 1967. The basic principles do not differ from those set forth in an address to the Central Society for Clinical Research in Chicago in 1951.1 Since this aspect of our interest has been dealt with elsewhere, we will confine our comments to the practical aspects of using prisoners from custodial institutions in Iowa in our clinical research.

In the last analysis, the introduction of any new form of diagnosis or treatment, any new drug or medicine, is an experiment. There must be a first. Our problem, therefore, is to determine to what degree experimentation on human subjects is permissible and what should be the strict lines of control and consent. In recent months and years, books have been written,