Research News

Western drug companies conducted trials behind the Iron Curtain without patient consent

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g6408 (Published 24 October 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g6408
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. 1London

Western drug companies capitalised on the impending bankruptcy of East Germany during the Cold War to carry out clinical trials that were often conducted without patients’ consent or full understanding, a new study has shown.

However, the research, published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, found no evidence that the trials systematically and intentionally damaged patients.1

In May 2013 Der Spiegel, the German news magazine, reported that the German Democratic Republic had “sold” its …

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