Clinical Trials for Beginners: Ethics – Pediatric Anthrax Vaccine Case Study

Scientificamerican.com: By Judy Stone | June 12, 2012 |

Having looked at the rampant conflicts of interest surrounding the anthrax vaccine and a bit at the logistics of the proposed pediatric vaccine trial let’s look at the trial in the context of ethical principles.

Ethical context

The need for ethical guidelines came to vivid attention during World War II, when the Nazis tortured many of their victims under the guise of conducting research. In 1946, 23 doctors were indicted; in 1947, at the Nuremberg trials, 7 of these were sentenced to death and 16 were imprisoned. The verdict included a section on “Permissible Medical Experiments,” subsequently known as the “Nuremberg Code.” This code for conducting research required that participants’ consent be voluntary and that the risks to those individuals should be understood and weighed into their decision to participate. Read more