Albert Kligman Unethical

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Imagine the sheer terror of being the subject of a human experiment. Unknown substances injected into your veins with the sharp prick of a needle. Being made horribly ill, all in the name of scientific progress that you may not even live to see. We often associate the malevolence of human experimentations with groups such as the Nazis, but America likes act as if it would never compromise it’s citizens rights in the name of scientific progress. The United States looks at itself as a role model for other countries because its ethics and values seem so sound. However, this is only an idealization and isn’t true. Cases of unethical human experimentation in Holmesburg Prison, Crownsville State Hospital, and the Tuskegee Institute prove that the…show more content…
Though many doctors go into medicine to help people, there are many others who want knowledge or fame. Dr. Albert Kligman was the latter. Kligman was a well-respected University of Pennsylvania dermatologist. He is known both for creating the acne medication Retin-A and for using prisoners as human test subjects (Gellene). Kligman’s research was conducted at Holmesburg Prison in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the years 1951 to 1974. Though the prisoners he used as test subjects were compensated to do so, many of them had no idea what they were getting into. Kligman tested substances ranging from shampoos and deodorants to radioactive or toxic substances (Gellene). Kligman even exposed some of his subjects to infections such as herpes or athlete 's foot. Keep in mind that theses studies were going on for more than 20 years. The prison was even referred to as Kligman’s “Kmart of human experimentation (Hornblum). Kligman was able to make discoveries about acne and poison ivy through his studies, but this did nothing for the inmates that suffered at his hands. Many inmates have filed lawsuits against the University of Pennsylvania, Kligman, and even companies marketing Kligman’s products. Holmesburg Prison was closed and federal funds are now only able to fund experimentation in prisons tha poses minimum risk to inmates. This, however, does not clean Dr. Kligman’s dark spot on medical…show more content…
According to researchers of the Tuskegee Institute in the 1930s, it’s when you’re test subjects are African Americans. U.S. Public Health Service researchers of the Tuskegee Institute were studying syphilis (Skloot). Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection that causes skin rashes, sores, fatigue, hair loss, weight loss, headaches, and even death (Centers for Disease Control). To test the progression of the infection, however, the researchers needed test subjects. They needed dispensable guinea pigs so they could watch them die. They guinea pigs came in the form of six hundred African American men, 399 infected with syphilis and 201 not infected with syphilis. The men received free medical exams, meals, and burial insurance as compensation for their participation in the study (Centers for Disease Control). This may seem fair at first, but the only thing that the test subjects did not receive was treatment for syphilis. Researchers watched for forty years as the infected men suffered the symptoms of the infection, and continued to watched even after they discovered the infection could be cured using penicillin (Skloot). Dozens of the men died from syphilis or complications related to syphilis, but that’s not the end of this atrocity. Some of the infected men passed on the infections to their wives, who then passed it onto their
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