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April 1999

Ethics, the Prison System, and Dermatology

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Arch Dermatol. 1999;135(4):469. doi:10-1001/pubs.Arch Dermatol.-ISSN-0003-987x-135-4-dlt0499

A recently published book raises several issues of relevance to dermatologists. In the book, entitled Acres of Skin: Human Experiments at Holmesburg Prison,1 Allen M. Hornblum describes in detail medical research using prison volunteers in a prison in Philadelphia, Pa, starting in the 1950s. The research included not only relatively harmless procedures such as ordinary patch testing but also testing with some associated risks, such as the application of dioxin to the skin of volunteers. The principal researchers in the program were dermatologists.

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