The Nuremberg code, the tribunal and the trial


Your Right to Refuse Potentially Dangerous Medical Experiments

New medications are examined for safety and efficacy in medical experiments. An experiment is an act or procedure performed under controlled conditions to discover an unknown action, measure an effect, or test or state a hypothesis. Medical experiments use human subjects. As the horrific medical experiments by Nazi doctors in concentration camps in World War II and by Japanese doctors from Unit 731 in Manchuria have shown, people in general and research subjects in particular need protection.

The oldest international code for ethical clinical research in humans was established in response to these degrading abuses in the 1947 Nuremberg Code. This was followed in 1948 by the Geneva Declaration and in 1964 by the Helsinki Declaration, the latest edition of which (from 2013) you can read elsewhere on this website. These guidelines were intended to ensure the safety of subjects in medical experiments. Are these codes adhered to and do they actually protect you?

By C.F. van der Horst
January 30, 2016, updated October 16, 2022

No Science but Marketing

Since drugs always have ‘side effects’ and, with a very few exceptions, cannot cure, it is highly questionable whether the Nuremberg Code and the Geneva and Helsinki Declarations are really respected in the experiments called drug research. After all, past experience has shown that such research has been rigged. It took the lives of many thousands of people.

Crucial to any medical intervention is that the underlying theory, on the basis of which a potential drug would work, is correct. It is precisely here that one often (unfortunately not always unintentionally) misses the mark. Marketing in the form of commercial science is in many cases more important than academic science. Here are a few examples.

Unproven Cholesterol Myth

At the root of experiments with statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs) is the cholesterol hypothesis, which is equally unproven. Statins are effective in only one in a hundred people and cause cholesterol lowering in them, whereas side effects can occur in anyone. The question is whether a cholesterol reduction is really desirable, because that same cholesterol is

  • needed for the production of vitamin D, steroid hormones (e.g., cortisol and aldosterone and adrenal androgens), and sex hormones such as testosterone, estrogens, and progesterone.
  • a major component of the cell membrane. It contributes to its structure and modulates its flexibility.
  • a component of bile salt used in digestion to facilitate the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Despite the flawed and unproven theories, statins are, despite their dangers, among the best-selling drugs and there is no problem getting medical experiments approved for new versions. As you will read below, the same goes for the so-called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

Not science, but marketing sets the tone.

Chemical Imbalance: The Fabricated Story

The extent to which marketing plays a role is demonstrated by the narrative of the ‘chemical imbalance in the brain.’ This comes straight from the marketing machine of the pharmaceutical industry and lacks hard scientific evidence. There is no test nor any research that has ever demonstrated this imbalance. The drugs that are supposed to remedy this chemical imbalance, the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), have been found to be associated with suicide and homicide. Yet drug research with human subjects was conducted on the basis of this unproven ‘chemical imbalance.’ Note that it had the approval of designated medical ethics review committees.

Medication and Serious Harm

The chemicals (i.e. drugs) tested in drug research are far from harmless: for example, one such experiment in France resulted in at least one death and five others with potentially irreparable brain damage. In the summer of 2015, a GlaxoSmithKline study report of a drug trial of paroxetine (sold as Seroxat® in the Netherlands and Paxil® in the US) was found to have been falsified. In fact, the drug was not just ‘not safe,’ it was outright dangerous: there were 2.6 times as many adverse events, 4 times as many psychiatric problems, and 10.3 times as many suicides compared with the control group.

Concealed Side Effects and Fatalities

This data was concealed by statistical processing that made the drug not only appear to work well, but also to be harmless. Re-examination showed both to be untrue, but in the meantime, paroxetine had become a bestseller due to the report published with much fanfare. The drug has been linked to homicide and suicide.

The above cases are too little known and therefore there is no pressure on governments or advisory committees to strictly comply with the Nuremberg Code.

Need for Honest Research

In Deadly Lies: How Doctors and Patients Are Deceived you will find information that protects you from abuse of your rights as a patient. This is critical not only for those who participate in scientific research but actually for anyone who has ever used or will use a drug. It is important to demand honest research and where possible give priority to natural solutions according to Article 2 of the Nuremberg Code (see below). Unfortunately, economic interests often appear to prevail, so this article is ignored.

"Deadly Lies. How Doctors and Patients Are Deceived" describes the conflicts of interest of government officials and scientists, the mass marketing of the pharmaceutical industry, and the lies used to deceive both physicians and you.

“Deadly Lies. How Doctors and Patients Are Deceived” describes the conflicts of interest of government officials and scientists, the mass marketing of the pharmaceutical industry, and the lies used to deceive both physicians and you.

CCMO and the Nuremberg Code.

The Nuremberg Code and the Declaration of Helsinki are essential to the design and conduct of responsible drug research. In the Netherlands, the Central Commission on Human Subjects Research (CCMO) has, as executor of the Act for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects (WMO) and supervisor of recognized medical ethics review committees (METCs), a direct duty to endorse these codes of conduct in order to ensure that drug research is conducted according to Article 1 of the Nuremberg Code: “without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, overreaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion.”

For drug research in the Netherlands, the Central Commission on Human Research is responsible for the Nuremberg Code.

For drug research in the Netherlands, the Central Commission on Human-related Research is responsible for the Nuremberg Code.

The Effects of Drug Research Abroad

Although the above experiments were conducted abroad, the Netherlands and other countries are influenced by such studies because medication based on that type of study is also allowed in those countries. Therefore, for the Netherlands, the CCMO and the Medicines Evaluation Board (MEB) should get a grip on the situation as the ultimately responsible bodies.

Knowing, complying with and enforcing the Nuremberg Code would be a step in the right direction; it could prevent homicide, suicide, brain damage, and other terrible consequences. And how about preventing the use of experimental and, in terms of safety and efficacy, unproven vaccines?

The original Nuremberg Code. From:

The original Nuremberg Code. From: “The Trials of War Criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals.”

It is up to you to urge doctors, legislators, and parliamentarians to comply with both the Nuremberg Code and the Declaration of Helsinki and refuse experimental medication or interventions.

The Nuremberg Code

  1. The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential. This means that the person involved should have legal capacity to give consent; should be so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice, without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, overreaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion; and should have sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the elements of the subject matter involved as to enable him to make an understanding and enlightened decision. This latter element requires that before the acceptance of an affirmative decision by the experimental subject there should be made known to him the nature, duration, and purpose of the experiment; the method and means by which it is to be conducted; all inconveniences and hazards reasonably to be expected; and the effects upon his health or person which may possibly come from his participation in the experiment. The duty and responsibility for ascertaining the quality of the consent rests upon each individual who initiates, directs, or engages in the experiment. It is a personal duty and responsibility which may not be delegated to another with impunity.
  2. The experiment should be such as to yield fruitful results for the good of society, unprocurable by other methods or means of study, and not random and unnecessary in nature.
  3. The experiment should be so designed and based on the results of animal experimentation and a knowledge of the natural history of the disease or other problem under study that the anticipated results will justify the performance of the experiment.
  4. The experiment should be so conducted as to avoid all unnecessary physical and mental suffering and injury.
  5. No experiment should be conducted where there is an a priori reason to believe that death or disabling injury will occur; except, perhaps, in those experiments where the experimental physicians also serve as subjects.
  6. The degree of risk to be taken should never exceed that determined by the humanitarian importance of the problem to be solved by the experiment.
  7. Proper preparations should be made and adequate facilities provided to protect the experimental subject against even remote possibilities of injury, disability, or death.
  8. The experiment should be conducted only by scientifically qualified persons. The highest degree of skill and care should be required through all stages of the experiment of those who conduct or engage in the experiment.
  9. During the course of the experiment the human subject should be at liberty to bring the experiment to an end if he has reached the physical or mental state where continuation of the experiment seems to him to be impossible.
  10. During the course of the experiment the scientist in charge must be prepared to terminate the experiment at any stage, if he has probably cause to believe, in the exercise of the good faith, superior skill and careful judgment required of him that a continuation of the experiment is likely to result in injury, disability, or death to the experimental subject.

Source: Trials of War Criminals before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals under Control Council Law No. 10, Vol. II, pp. 181-182. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1949.

Want to Know More?

Why is it that there are so few drugs that are able to actually cure? What are adverse reactions of drugs? Why is it that people who participate in drug research sometimes die? And that even after the drug is on the market, people can fall victim to it? Is the Nuremberg Code being applied at all?

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