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Ethics and Clinical Research

Henry K Beecher Professor of Research in Anaesthesia, Harvard Medical School (1966)

Ethics and Clinical Research


This document is of paramount importance in bioethics, especially in the field of human experimentation, and was first published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 1966. You will be linked to the Beecher’s article in the document section of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Fifty years ago the author introduced the issue by pointing out:

“HUMAN experimentation since World War II has created some difficult problems with the increasing employment of patients as experimental subjects when it must be apparent that they would not have been available if they had been truly aware of the uses that would be made of them. Evidence is at hand that many of the patients in the examples to follow never had the risk satisfactorily explained to them, and it seems obvious that further hundreds have not known that they were the subjects of an experiment although grave consequences have been suffered as a direct result of experiments described…”.

ACEB. J. Vidal-Bota (MD, PhD, MBHL)