Historical story

Testing on humans through the ages

We owe our current medical knowledge, among other things, to experiments on people that we do not like to be reminded of. The ethical awareness of the risky actions seemed far-fetched. Until bizarre abuses during the Second World War forced everyone to face the facts again.

However, this did not immediately have the expected inhibitory effect on human trials. Even in apparently normal situations, experiments took place later which, according to current insights, were unacceptable. Under the guise of the Cold War and significant investments and breakthroughs in medical research, the rights and protection of test subjects received less attention. Until doctors themselves started to denounce the ethics of medical research, which also led to more attention from the media and politics, and medical research was restricted (legally). A brief history of human research.

Read the next article from the theme 'Testing with people'

Human research:the ruleless period (1945-1999)

Evert van Leeuwen