Hi I’m Wendy Zukerman, and you’re listening to Science Vs from Gimlet. Today, a very different kind of episode. We’re taking you back to a time where a group of scientists had free rein, to do whatever they wanted to their human guinea pigs It was basically the wild west of science, and out of this time… we got new medicine[1]… made scientific progress … but things spiralled out of controlwhen researchers took it too far… .

We’re starting our story with a man who stumbled into this world decades ago …

SW So let me get you some coffee

His name is Sigmund Weitzman… or Sig… He’s a jolly guy, loves to laugh, and as we sat down for coffee

I’ll always have a cookie,

Sig told me about growing up in Philadelphia in the 50s and 60s… his family was working class, no one had been to college… Sig had big dreams … he’d always wanted to be a doctor

SW So i finished college, and I was going to start medical school, and

But first he needed a summer job…

SW And I thought it would be interesting to do something that might have some relationship with what I was going to do in the future, and I thought maybe there’s some research or medical research! Any kind of research

And it’s this research that would plunge him into the centre of what would become a national scandal…

I didn’t know! I was too stupid to think anything more about it…

Before any of that, Sig is just an eager college grad … looking for that summer gig. So he opens up the phone book

SW Yeah! So I thought, well I'll look up research laboratories in the yellow pages. This is how naive I was.

He’s going alphabetically… and  once he gets to the letter C… he sees a listing in small print…

SW Clover Laboratories it was only a phone number and an address, didn’t have anything except a listing…

Clover Laboratories… sounds mediciney to Sig, so he dials the number. A man picks up... and Sig tells him… I’ve finished college I’m going to medical school and I’m looking for a job…

SW He said you're exactly what we need for this summer, why don’t you come to this address tomorrow and you can decide if you want to do this job

The next day, Sig gets in his car and heads to the address he was given. He’s driving through a pretty residential looking part of Philly… yards… brick houses…

SW All of a sudden I see this big granite buildings, scary scary looking Victorian type buildings. I looked at the address where I was driving…  I said my god it's a jail 

Prisons, the big house, whatever you want to call it.

WZ Do you know you were going to be working at a jail? 

SW I had no idea!  I thought I was going to be working in a laboratory. You know benches, pouring chemicals, and spinning centrifuges… That was thing. I was completely flummoxed!

What did I get myself into?

What did he get himself into..? Well.. Sig was about to enter a world where scientists were experimenting on prisoners…  And this wasn’t just some bad apples… a few rotten scientists… No, what felt like a weird summer job… was actually part of an industry where the US Government and Big Pharma were testing new drugs in prisons. So on today’s show: how did this happen? And how did people like Sig get sucked in? 

That’s coming up after the break...


Welcome back. We’ve just met Sigmund Weitzman, who in the 1960s … had just finished college ...[2] [3]  and landed himself a lab job. He hoped he was on his way to a shiny, state of the art medical facility…  but it turned out, this lab was in a prison… And the lab rats... were the prisoners. On his first day at work, Sig's new boss....gives him the lay of the land.

He told me they were doing research on pharmaceutical and commercial cosmetic products,

Things like Toothpaste[4], shampoo, skin cream[5] deodorants[6] 

And so tell me what was the first experiment you were involved in? Being the youngest  guy I was the person who got asked to do the most unpleasant tasks. So, the first thing, i remember this very distinctly… it was the sweat box-01

The sweatbox? This was a small room, where the temperature was 100 degrees Fahrenheit… and the humidity was at 90 percent[7].

SW So one of the products they were testing was an antiperspirant.

Sig’s job was to find out how well the antiperspirant worked. And here’s what that meant… prisoners would come in ...

SW So under one arm I spread a placebo and under the other arm I spread the antiperspirant, then I took the gauze with forceps, And very carefully placed them under each arm-01

Sig would then take the men --  gauze pads in their armpits -- into that stinking hot sweatbox, for about an hour… And after that? He need to remove the pads

SW When I went to retrieve the pads and take them out of there, it was quite unpleasant.

The gauze pads would be dripping with sweat… and Sig would carefully weigh the wet pads. The lighter they were… the less sweat… the better the antiperspirant. So this was gross for Sig ... but what about the prisoners? They were the ones being put into this sweltering room… did Sig have any qualms at this point?

WZ Were you like oh, should we be doing this?

SW Not at all, it seemed to me perfectly harmless, nobody seemed to be upset by it. I couldn’t see anything personally wrong with it 

 And to Sig, the prisoners seemed happy enough to do these experiments, because they were getting paid[8] … not much… sometimes a couple of dollars for each test[9],[10],[11]. But it was more than they could make doing other jobs at the prison. The money would go into what’s called their commissary accounts … and the prisoners could use it for better food or cigarettes.

SW I talked to them a lot about why they were doing what they did, and it was always for the money in their commissary accounts, They were content to do what they thought were things of low risk… see both I and the prisoners really believed that there was very little risk to what they were doing. 

So Sig wasn’t really questioning these experiments… and in some cases he really was doing useful science… like there were these tests to find a treatment for Athlete’s Foot … which was infecting a lot of soldiers in the Vietnam War at the time[12],[13] And so, some prisoners who had Athlete’s Foot would come to the lab, take off their boots… and present their feet to Sig.

SW Oh my gosh that was horrible. It was scaly, and oozing and red... and I had to spread apart their toes. And then carefully pipette, which is like a big eye dropper, I had to pipette a couple of drops this thick yellow liquid between each of their toes.

WZ What was in the liquid?

SW Something that would kill athlete’s foot. And I only did it on one foot. And the other foot was allowed to ah ah..

WZ fester…?

SW Well.. It was left alone let’s just put it that way

WZ What were the prisoners saying? Was it uncomfortable for them?

SW They didn't seem to mind the liquid. They'd make fun of me as I’d spread their toes apart, that’s the other thing they’d say "Good job you have there" and some other choice comments.


Sig kinda got used to this weird day to day … But, as the summer went on, a few things happened that made Sig start to question what was going on.

The first thing was when a prisoner had a bad reaction to one of the products he was testing.  And Sig remembers the day very well. He was minding his own business in the lab when this guy stormed in. And he was a massive guy, 240 pounds - a heavyweight champion … and before Sig knew it, the guy ...    

Picks me up off the ground as if I were a toy.  I’m terrified. Cos he’s furious. And holding me in the air, he says he’s going to throw me through the wall and kill me.

The prisoner is so angry. And then he tells Sig why.

SW He said my hairs falling out. And it was, it falling out in clumps, and it was due to the stuff  I was putting in his hair. He was very upset about it.

This prisoner had a beautiful thick head of hair. That was, until he enrolled himself into an experiment for hair cream[14]. Sig was stunned.

SW It seemed safe. The idea that someone’s hair would fall out never entered my mind.  So that shocked me.

No one else seem shocked though… everyone around Sig just kind of shrugged it off. But Sig was then seeing other things that gave him pause … Like, there were these experiments known as patch tests. And to test different products[15] … Sig would have prisoners take their shirts off and put the creams and liquids onto their backs. Then he’d stick a patch over the top of it, which he'd take off a few days later.

SW I recall pipetting liquids from dark bottles, and then apply it to the back of one of the volunteers it was almost like an assembly line. It was an enormous operation.

WZ How much did you tell the prisoners what was going on?

SW You told them the procedure… so we’re going to put THIS on your back… and see if there was a reaction to it

WZ But you didn’t tell them what the “this” is, what you’re actually putting on their skin…

SW You didn’t know what it was…

WZ YOU didn’t want it was… ?

SW I didn’t know what it was        

Every now and then, Sig would pull off the patches, and the skin underneath would be in bad shape.

SW Some people got pretty bad reactions.

WZ What sort of things?

SW blisters, redness, and sometimes infections, um and sometimes scarring.

WZ When you saw the scars did you have pause of what was going on?

SW Umm I think coming from my background, sort of working class, lower middle class background, we revered professors and academics, and respected them, that's the way I was brought up..  

Still … Sig says… at one point he did ask his supervisor -- should we be worried about these bad reactions?

SW He said it very rarely happens  And he said it’s nothing to worry about. Dr Kligman says it’s OK.

Dr Kligman says it’s ok. That was Dr Albert Kligman[16]. A professor of dermatology[17] at the very prestigious University of Pennsylvania. Dr Kligman was the brains behind this operation in Philly’s prisons[18]. And he was a hero in American dermatology.[19]. Dr Kligman died in 2010 so we couldn’t interview him for this story.[20]

WZ Did you meet him?

SW Never.

WZ Did you hear about him? How was he spoken of?

SW He was very famous and revered! As a great, world class dermatologist…one of the leaders in his field…  Everyone respected his opinion. And thought he was the best thing ever. And I was impressed with that it may have contributed to swaying me to hang in there…

And so Sig hung in there trusting his superiors… trusting Dr Kligman… Week in, week out.. Testing all kinds of things….

Sig says in many ways prisons were an ideal place for human experiments... You could pay prisoners a lot less than other research subjects… so it was cheaper to run the studies.  

But… also at a prison you had the perfect environment to run an experiment.  Think about it… in the real world people live completely different lives - so comparing them for research is really tough. In prison. Everyone basically does the same thing every day.[21] 

SW you can tell them where to show up, when to show up, where to show up, you can control over what they eat, if you’re interested in their diet you really have control over their everyday lives..

And the scientists at Sig’s lab took full advantage of this And what Sig didn't know was that there were actually hundreds of experiments taking place in prisons all over the country... with scores of other Sigs carefully pipetting liquids onto prisoners’ backs

Sig continued on that summer -- wrapping up his work …. And heading off to medical school as he planned in the fall. And it wasn't until years later he would learn the scale of what he was part of -- and that the experiments he was doing… were far worse than he ever imagined.

Coming up after the break.


Welcome back. We’ve just found out that US scientists were routinely doing experiments on prisoners in the 1960s. And this was happening in prisons - all across America[22]  … from Georgia[23] to Michigan[24] to California[25]. And after talking to Sigmund about his unusual summer job… we had to find out why? How did testing on prisoners become the new normal?

We soon found out that this had been building for a while ... and by the 1950s scientists had been using US prisoners in experiments, actually, pretty regularly[26] [27][28][29] …. But, something changed in the early 1960s that gave a real push to this business of using prisoners as human guinea pigs…  It was actually something that was actually supposed to make us all safer.

Here’s what happened: In the 1950s and early 60s,[30] pregnant women around the world were being given this drug to help with morning sickness. It was called Thalidomide.[31] There was a problem though… it turned out that the drug caused serious deformities in babies … and people were furious that this had been allowed to happen.  The US government realized[32] … they had to do something. John F. Kennedy was president at the time.

Every doctor, every nurse has been notified, every woman in this country must be aware that it’s most important they do not take this drug

The government wanted to make sure this didn't happen again. So in 1962, new rules were brought in to make drugs safer[33].[34] And one of the big changes was that drug companies now had to test a drug in several phases before it could be sold.  In the first phase, new drugs would be tested in healthy people. Those who weren’t sick. To see if there were any nasty side effects. And before long …

AH Thousands of inmates across the country were incorporated in experiments.

WZ This was huge

AH This was an industry, this was an industry. Prisons was the backbone of the medical research

This is Allen Hornblum. He’s talked to dozens of prisoners who were involved in experiments at this time. And he wrote a book about them…  called Acres of Skin. And Allen says that when researchers all of a sudden needed a lot human test subjects.. prisoners felt like an obvious choice ... after all… if you need bodies… ?

AH You’re not going to use significant people in the national or state legislature … You’re don’t go to the string section of the philharmonic, you don’t go to the faculty of columbia you go people on the shelf, you go to prison’s.

By the early 1970s… the vast majority of all Phase 1 drug testing was being done on prisoners. [35] [36] [37] 

Records show that the major pharmaceutical companies[38] [39] [40] at the time[41]… were doing this:  Bristol Myers[42], Johnson & Johnson[43],[44] and Eli Lilly[45].[46]  ….. [47].  Even the FDA, NIH and the Centres for Disease Control were testing vaccines[48]… and antibiotics[49] on prisoners… Like, some early experiments on the flu vaccine[50][51]they were done in prisons ...

Some of these studies were published in prestigious academic journals[52][53] …  and some were even reported in newspapers, like the Boston Globe or Philadelphia Inquirer[54] [55] [56] 

AH Once in a while something would make news, but it often was one day news story, and it was glowing! People thought it was fairly beneficial and innocuous.

And of course, companies weren’t just using prisoners to find life saving medicines… they were hiring guys like Sig to test the stuff you get at the drugstore ... like antiperspirants and skin creams… And this arrangement worked for lots of people… science was marching forward… we were getting safer drugs…and at the time, no one seemed too worried about what this was doing to the prisoners …

But some of the prisoners that Allen spoke to? Well, they said they got permanently injured … and regretted being a part of the experiments. Looking back -- former prisoner Alfons Skorski -- says he felt abused by what was happening

AS I mean these were doctors supposed to be helping me, instead of helping me they hurt me. And why did they hurt me? For per- personal gain is what it boiled down to… For their personal gain I got hurt.

This is from an interview that Allen did with Alfons. Alfons  said he got a really nasty infection from one of these experiments, that ended up creating a large scar across his leg, which stayed with him for the rest of his life.

AS It's ugly, my children when they were growing up, I couldn't go out onto the beach with them, I didn't want to draw attention to myself and to my children. 

But, as the 1960s are rolling into the 70s… people finally start noticing how messed up some of these experiments are[57]… it came out that there was a study on baby shampoo[58] for Johnson and Johnson, which involved dropping shampoo into the eyes of prisoners for hours. And there were news articles with stories of prisoners being hospitalised with burns[59].[60].. The New York Times reported that in one particularly dodgy vaccine experiment ...where a prisoner even died.[61]...  Meanwhile, the public is getting more suspicious of scientists… as news was breaking about different shady study .. the Tuskegee syphilis experiment, that was where hundreds of black men who had syphilis were left untreated. Here’s Allen again.

AH It really gives a collective chill to all sorts of people and little by little, you start to see pressure being put on different institutions. People really start to wake up.

As people are waking up though… SOME of the scientists involved in this work.... seemed unapologetic In one article, a researcher was quoted as saying ‘Criminals in our penitentiaries are fine experimental material - and much cheaper than chimpanzees.’[62]. 

Meanwhile, Pharmaceutical Companies argued that they needed prisoners to advance science. And that killing the program would make it harder to test new drugs and ultimately cure diseases[63].

AH And there were doctors at the time, who very much argued against the government stopping the experiments, they were arguing this was going to nail science in the bud. We won’t be able to move forward, we won’t be able to do research if we don’t have test subjects. 

So working out what to do with these experiments, at the time, actually wasn’t easy… So Congress set up a Commission …  to sort out whether this research should be stopped or not[64]. They got together a group of researchers and lawyers. And one of those people tasked with deciding what to do here: was a young lawyer called Patricia King[65]. And when Patricia  heard about the experiments happening to prisoners… she said it actually wasn’t a shock…

PK I wasn't surprised. I wouldn't be surprised at very many things when it comes to how prisoners are treated, jails are not good places.

What was a surprise for Patricia though… was how some of the prisoners felt about the experiments. The commissioners talked to a lot of prisoners who joined the research. While a few[66], like Alfons, were upset because they got hurt … many didn’t feel that way at all.  Patricia remembers one inmate who was downright pissed at the commissioners for butting in.

PK He focused his attention on me, and basically he said, I wish you damn ACLU types, liberals ah would stay out of here as leave us alone. We don't want you here. And We know what we’re doing we don’t need you to tell us how to run things.[67]

The Commissioners went on to speak to 80 prisoners about whether research should be stopped and reported that they “unanimously said no”. [68]. These prisoners wanted the research to go on[69].

And part of this was the money they were paid for the experiments -- but interviews with prisoners from the time found that taking part in these studies also had other perks -- like --  they were treated better in the experiments than in the rest of the jail and sometimes they got to sleep in the lab. Which, one prisoner said: was better than the cells because you weren’t afraid someone would “bust you in the head”.[70]

Some Commissioners were pretty convinced by this… and thought maybe the research should go on[71]

PK Some people at the National Commission had no problem with that,

But Patricia and other commissioners were like, wait, let’s think for a minute here. You have people in a crap situation who seem to be doing these experiments to make their situation slightly less crap … or in other words.

PK my problem was you have a captive population and you're taking advantage of their powerlessness.

Taking advantage of their powerlessness. The commission also looked into whether Black prisoners were more likely to be part of these experiments. They didn’t find evidence for that. In facted, there tended to be more white prisoners involved in these studies.[72].

So after much debate[73] and going round in circles for months on what was the right thing to do here: the Commission made up its mind. In 1976, they published their report, ultimately creating new rules around prisoner experiments[74]. Now, those rules didn’t include an all out ban on all experiments done in prisons - but they put a ton of restrictions in place, making it all but impossible for a lot of the prisoner research to go on.[75],[76], [77]. Ultimately... the industry of prisoner experiment shut down.[78],[79]

Over the next few decades… more and more details would come out about what exactly went on in some of those prisoner experiments.[80] [81]In several cases scientists were actually[82] infecting[83] [84] [85] prisoners with diseases[86] [87] [88] . Diseases like cholera[89], malaria[90], and Hepatitis[91].

In one study researchers took four healthy men from Iowa State penitentiary and stopped them from eating vitamin C so they got scurvy.[92]And sure, scurvy may sound like some ye-olde sailor disease… but it’s gruesome…  by the end of the experiment, the men’s gums were bleeding[93],[94]

We talked to one scientist who thought the experiment was outrageous …

SW  That’s terrible. They know that from the English Sailors in the 1700s [95], what happens. They die!

WZ Why would they do that? Like Why?

SW I don’t understand it

Yeah… this is Sigmund Weitzman again, our scientist from the start of the show. And we’re coming back to him…  to find out … did he have any idea of how bad all this was? Well, Sig told me that he totally missed that this was a nationwide controversy back in the 1970s. He was graduating from medical school and starting his career as a cancer researcher - not really reading the news.

But in 1981… there was a headline in the newspaper… that Sigmund did catch.[96],[97] And it made him rethink what he was doing that summer. The article said that Dow Chemical Company had been doing tests on prisoners in Philly while Sigmund worked there.… They were testing a chemical found in Agent Orange…which was used in chemical warfare during the Vietnam War [98], [99] What they were testing was dioxin - and the EPA calls it extremely toxic.[100],[101].  It can disfigure your skin … and cause cancer[102]. [103] And there’s evidence that Dow Chemical company knew it was dangerous at that time[104].[105] [106] Here’s Sig...

SW And I read the article, and I remember I got, how angry I got, I was just infuriated,  I still can’t get over it… All these years later… I get so upset, giving people poison without telling them and looking and seeing what happens. How can you do that? I mean it. How can you do that?

But when Sig thought about it … he realized. He might have been the one doing it. Sig was there when these dioxin tests were going on. He’s pretty sure that some of those dark little bottles... were full of dioxin.

SW I didn’t have knowledge of it. But we were putting poison on people’s back.  At the time I thought it was the most interesting thing. It’s peculiar how that happens  

Even after all this came out were basically no consequences for any of the people or companies involved … very few prisoners were compensated for getting hurt.[107][108]  We reached out to several Pharmaceutical companies about the experiments…most didn’t get back to us… but  Johnson and Johnson told us… well, back then it was widely accepted and done by prominent researchers.[109]

As for Sig, he’s retired from medicine now. But ever since he read that article he thinks about these questions … of how you can keep people safe when you’re doing research. In fact, now Sig reviews studies to help make sure nothing like these prisoner experiments can happen again …

SW You try to um hope that benefits outweigh the risks, that’s what you’re trying to do when you evaluate these things. I still get very upset when I think about it It’s not something you forget.  *sigh*

But it is something that history… in many ways has forgotten…  even though prisoners were the backbone of scientific research for more than a decade…  it's not something many of us learn about in Biology 101. … We at Science Vs have even used research that was done on prisoners - and we never realised that this was part of an industry  And what struck us …  was how easy it was for scientists to get caught up in this… to think it was a good idea to run all kinds of experiments on prisoners. And how easily everyone justified it: after all we were creating new and safer drugs! Advancing scientific knowledge! Why rock the boat?

That’s Science Vs…

This episode had 109 citations… and if you want to see behind the scenes photos of us making the show… find us on instagram: instagram science_vs.

This episode was produced by me, Wendy Zukerman with help from Rose Rimler, Meryl Horn and Michelle Dang. Our senior producer is Kaitlyn Sawrey. We’re edited by Blythe Terrell and Caitlin Kenney. Fact checking by Michelle Harris and Michelle Dang. Mix and sound design by Peter Leonard. Music by Peter Leonard, Emma Munger and Bobby Lord. A huge thanks to all the researchers we got in touch with for this episode including Professor Karen Lebacqz and Michael Yesley.

 Also thanks to Sruthi Pinnamaneni, the Zukerman Family and Joseph Lavelle Wilson.  

Next week… Fasting…could not eating be good for you? And can you stick to it?

80% of what you’re burning now is fat. WOW. So it’s a big increase...

I’m Wendy Zukerman, fact you next time.

[1] Albert Kligman…. cites breakthroughs such as Retin A –an anti-acne drug, and ingredients for the creams and salves to treat poison ivy as evidence of public benefits from prison studies.

[2] https://www.phila.gov/prisons/Facilities/Pages/HouseofCorrection.aspx; https://kywnewsradio.radio.com/articles/news/philadelphia-empties-house-correction-another-step-toward-closure

[3] https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/82427941.pdf 

[4] About one hundred inmates are involved in a "Dental Study" of a Johnson & Johnson product, involving the checking of mouth rinses and toothpaste for toxicity. http://sci-hub.tw//10.1177/003288556704700104

[5] https://archive.org/details/DTIC_ADB002516/page/n5 

[6] This is a different antiperspirant study done on prisoners in Philly http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi= 

[7] To induce sweating the subjects were placed in an environmental chamber of 100° F and 90% relative humidity [This was not exactly the study Sig is describing, but describes the sweat box aka ‘environmental chamber]]

[8] The Commission talked to 80 prisoners - selected by the Commission staff -- in general they felt like they could volunteer or withdraw from the program. Why did prisoners participate? Better living conditions, desire to perform a worthwhile service to others, money. [pg 35]

[9]  Congress  - Senate Committee Pg 824 - Mr Allan Lawson described… In the fall of 1972, a study on baby shampoo was conducted in Holmesburg Prison by Ivy Research for Johnson and Johnson. “This test involved dropping shampoo into the eyes of 20 prisoners for a 24 hour period. This experiment reportedly paid $3 per man.

[10] Dr Robert Batterman - said he would pay a student at least $100 for experiments requiring a weekly withdrawal of blood. Whereas prisoners get $15 a month, sometimes lower

[11] I’m making $30 a month on the DMSO thing [Chronic Topical Application of Dimethylsulfoxide].

[12] https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/b002516.pdf 

[13] Blank and co-workers (9) reported that skin diseases among the American troops in Vietnam are the commonest cause of disability. In the Mekong Delta, for example, 77 percent of 209 men required hospitalization for foot infections.

[14] Acres of Skin pg 13

[15] Sig says basically cosmetics: liquids, creams ointments and powders (but not a lot of powders)

[16] https://www.med.upenn.edu/endowedprofessorships/duplicate-of-morton-m.-kligerman,-md-endowed-professorship-of-radiation-oncology.html 

[17] https://www.newspapers.com/image/213943800/?terms=dr%2Balbert%2Bkligman 

[18]e.g. Philadelphia’s House of Corrections and Holmesburg Prison (The Philadelphia Prisons that were open at the time) https://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/23/us/23kligman.html But Dr. Kligman may be better remembered for directing experiments at Holmesburg Prison in Philadelphia that became a catalyst for federal restrictions on human testing.

[19] https://www.newspapers.com/image/430243805/?terms=dr%2Balbert%2Bkligman 

[20] Kligman became infamous because of the ethical status of his trials, however, in American dermatology he remained a hero, with his death marked by an article with the by-line ‘Albert the Magnificent’ and no mention of the criticisms of his work

[21] When talking about a study of a diet that Dr Albert Kligman did, he said “We knew exactly how much fat they got, how many calories, how many vitamins.” https://www.newspapers.com/image/179592803/?terms=Prisoner%2Bkligman 

[22] Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison, Iowa.

[23] a parasitized blood sample was taken, refrigerated at 4?C, and forwarded to the Laboratory of Parasite Chemotherapy malaria project at the U.S. Penitentiary, Atlanta, Georgia. The blood was inoculated into a healthy Caucasian volunteer on 15 April 1965. Since then it has been serially subinoculated into six additional volunteers (five Caucasians and one Negro), and into rhesus monkeys from each of the first three volunteers.

[24] The Commission made a site visit to the State Prison of Southern Michigan at Jackson on November 14, 1975 [pg 33]

[25] The subjects were inmates of the California Medical Facility at Vacaville, California,

[26] In 1915, for example, Public Health Service researcher Joseph Goldberger induced pellagra in healthy Mississippi prisoners, who were offered parole in exchange for participation.

[27] Historically, isolated and sporadic episodes of the use of prisoners as study subjects for pharmaceutical research existed before World War II, yet it was wartime medical projects that fully launched prison-based research.

[28] According to this article, a piece written in JAMA in 1949 really kicked off these prisoner experiments. “This publication signified acceptance of prison-based research by the medical community”

[29] Testing drugs on prisoners - was done rarely before 1934 - when a program at Leavenworth Prison was set up to assess the abuse of narcotic pain killers. [pg 23]

[30] https://academic.oup.com/toxsci/article/122/1/1/1672454

[31] After the thalidomide experience new rules were brought in to test drugs -- in 1962 -- and as a result Phase 1 testing had to be performed. [pg 24/ > in document 48-49]

[32] “As a result of the thalidomide tragedy of the 1960s, the

following lessons were learned: Pharmaceutical products should be systematically tested for developmental effects prior to marketing. https://academic.oup.com/toxsci/article/122/1/1/1672454

[33] https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm322856.htm

[34] https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/clinical-trials/what-you-need-to-know/phases-of-clinical-trials.html 

[35] Prisoners became the population on which much of this testing was performed” [pg 24]

[36] Wyeth Laboratories told her and said: “Almost all our Phase I testing is done in prisons.” .. “I learned that prisons today furnish virtually the entire pool of subjects for Phase I testing.”

[37] In 1973, Pharmaceutical association said that 70 percent of Phase 1 drugs were tested on prisoners. Steller: "The percentage of phase I studies done with prisoners is very high. I would say maybe 70 percent" [pg 870] By 1975 it was 85 percent 

[38] See page 30 https://repository.library.georgetown.edu/static/flexpaper/template.html?path=/bitstream/handle/10822/559374/Research_involving_prisoners.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y 

[39] Hoffman-Larouche, Parke Davis, Abbott, Lederle, Pfizer, Smith, Kline & French - according to Dr Burt Cahn, p 45 Acres of Skin

[40] The long list of sponsors included major pharmaceutical houses and diverse entities such as RJ Reynolds, Dow Chemical, and the United States Army.

[41] Pg 30-31

[42] Dr Stough - since 1963 carried out 130 investigational studies for 37 drug companies.  Wyeth Laboratories, Lederle Laboratories, Bristol Myers, Merck, and the Upjohn.  (PDF of full article) (Pictures in here)

[43] Congress  - Senate Committee: Pg 824 - In the fall of 1972, a study on baby shampoo was conducted in Holmesburg Prison by Ivy Research for Johnson and Johnson.

[44] About one hundred inmates are involved in a "Dental Study" of a Johnson & Johnson product, involving the checking of mouth rinses and toothpaste for toxicity. In this procedure, the inmate volunteers

to rinse his mouth once or twice daily with the preparation being evaluated. He subjects himself to an oral examination at the beginning, middle, and end of a thirty-day period by a dentist from Johnson &

Johnson. For participation in this experiment, the inmate receives twenty to twenty-five dollars, plus two dollars extra for any blood tests involved. http://sci-hub.tw//10.1177/003288556704700104 

[45] P 71 https://repository.library.georgetown.edu/static/flexpaper/template.html?path=/bitstream/handle/10822/559374/Research_involving_prisoners.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

[46] Eli Lilly talks about doing experiments - they are testing the rate that medicine enters in the bloodstream.

[47]  At least 3600 United States prisoners were used during 1975 alone as the first humans on whom the safety of new drugs were tested-about 85 percent of the total of such tests, according to the Pharmaceuti- cal Manufacturer's Association, whose 131 member firms develop most of the nation's prescription drugs.1

[48] CDC tested vaccines pg 27  (Which is 51 in the document)

[49]  FDA tested antibiotics, cyclamates. Pg 27 (Which is 51 in the document)

[50] http://sci-hub.tw/10.1001/jama.1957.02980290006002 

[51] https://www.nvic.org/vaccines-and-diseases/influenza/vaccine-history.aspx 

[52] http://sci-hub.tw/10.1001/jama.1957.02980290006002 

[53] E.g. Inmates of Holmesburg Prison served as volunteers; https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/656449 

[54]They studied 65 subjects, including 30 teenagers suffering from acne and 35 young adult male prison volunteers https://www.newspapers.com/image/106059498/?terms=kligman%2Binmate%2Bvolunteers 

[55] They selected 41 bald men from among volunteers at a prison and an old men’s home: https://www.newspapers.com/image/433782002/?terms=kligman%2Bprison%2Bvolunteers 

[56] In one article from the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote a glowing review of the work done by Dr Kligman, noting: “when American soldiers and civilians are better protected from the effects of chemical warfare, it will be thanks to a University of Pennsylvania doctor and several dozen inmate volunteers...” https://www.newspapers.com/image/179592803/?terms=Prisoner%2Bkligman 

[57] Concern regarding the mistreatment of medical research subjects in the United States developed in the early 1970s, largely as a result of publicity concerning the Tuskegee syphilis study. [pg 488]

[58] P 824 https://archive.org/details/qualityofhealthc00unit/page/n1?q=Leodus+Jones 

[59] I know a couple of guys had to go to the hospital who were on it - and the burns were so bad they had to take everyone of it for a while.

[60]http://sci-hub.tw/10.1177/000348946607500118 DMSO Vacaville study:

 Prolonged cutaneous administration of DMSO usually results in drying, mild wrinkling, and some scaling, such as follows mild sunburn.

[61] In 1969 - Walter Rugaber of the New York Times reported -[Death of Andrew Buddy Crawford described  under “Died after 8th Shot”] 

[62] https://www.scribd.com/document/276090631/Experiments-Behind-Bars-by-Jessica-Mitford 

[63] While the risks are minimal, the benefits are extensive. Eliminating prisoners from such research might well "delay the development of new drugs which will benefit everyone, including the prisoners themselves

[64] The Senate held subcommittee hearings in 1973 and subsequently established the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects in Biomedical and Behavioral Research through the National Research Act of 1974.

[65] https://repository.library.georgetown.edu/static/flexpaper/template.html?path=/bitstream/handle/10822/559374/Research_involving_prisoners.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y (P 12-13 in the webpage)

[66] “A few subjects nonetheless felt that they had experienced specific difficulties as a result of the experiments that they did not fully expect” - 77

[67] Commission Report in 1976 found that in California Medical Facility - there was a significant drop out rate from some studies - showing prisoners knew they could drop out. [pg 40, 69, 72]

[68] When asked if research should be stopped - they “unanimously said no” [p 36].  About 90% of prisoners said they would keep being involved in experiments. But when asked how to studies might be improved - one of the top things was “more complete explanation of possible harmful effects” [p 78] https://repository.library.georgetown.edu/static/flexpaper/template.html?path=/bitstream/handle/10822/559374/Research_involving_prisoners.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y 

[69] Interesting aside, demonstrating that prisoners, at least in this Prison wanted the experiments: On July 29, 1980 inmates in the Michigan State Penitentiary at Jackson filed a lawsuit challenging the proposed FDA regulations. 144 On November 12, 1980, the Upjohn Company, the primary sponsor of drug research at Jackson, intervened as a plaintiff in the case. 145 The plaintiffs alleged that the FDA's proposed ban on prisoner participation in nontherapeutic drug experimentation violated the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the Fifth Amendment. 1

[70] Our volunteers stated that it was safer in the research project than it was elsewhere in the jail. In the volunteers’ words, “You could trust people on the project,” and, “There was less tension among the volunteers than among the other prisoners.” The volunteers felt they could go to sleep in the research project without being afraid someone would “bust you in the head,” or “set fire” to their bunks while they slept.  http://sci-hub.tw//10.1111/j.1749-6632.1970.tb54756.x 

[71] https://www.jstor.org/stable/3561020?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents 

[72] Evidence presented to the Commission indicates that where research is done in prison, those prisoners who participate tend to be predominantly white, even in institutions where the population as a whole is predominantly nonwhite; [At Jackson] Subjects were disproportionately

white; although blacks comprise almost 68% of the nonsubject prison population,

they are only about 31% of the subject pool.

[73] Good discussion http://sci-hub.tw//10.2307/3561020 

[74] https://repository.library.georgetown.edu/static/flexpaper/template.html?path=/bitstream/handle/10822/559374/Research_involving_prisoners.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y 

[75] Page 13

[76] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK19885/ The result of these regulations has been, as was their goal, the virtual elimination of biomedical research activity in prisons and jails” (Dubler and Sidel, 1989).

[77] NYT, 1976: The Federal Bureau of Prisons recently announced that it would no longer permit medical experimentation on inmates in Federal prisons.

[78] The Senate hearings, as well as the growing chorus of opponents to penal experimentation, began to resonate at home. County prison boards in Pennsylvania recognized it was time to terminate their once-prized human research programs.

[79] In 1976 the Commission recommended to the Secretary of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare ("HEW") (now "DHHS") that the government declare a moratorium on funding and approving prisoner studies until any prison that allowed inmate experimentation met at least minimum criteria to protect inmate subjects.

[80]  Between 1963 and 1971, researchers in Oregon and Washington irradiated and repeatedly took biopsy specimens from the testicles of healthy prisoners; the men subsequently reported rashes, peeling, and blisters on the scrotum as well as sexual difficulties

[81] 320 prisoners were being tested on with secret chemical warfare experiments. Testing the dose of mind controlling drugs known as MED 50 from 1964 to 1968. The Philadelphia Inquirer - 25 November 1979

[82] https://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=%22inmate+volunteers%22&hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C33&as_ylo=1960&as_yhi=1970

[83] Cutaneous moniliasis, a skin condition that can cause pain and burning  

[84] Candida Albicans - Yeast - infection 

[85]  Common cold: The finding that the cold doesn’t spread the common cold, was done by “inmate volunteers

[86] Staphylococcus aureus: “A few were infected more than once”

[87] E-Coli - “The participants were prisoners who volunteered after having been fully informed of the conditions of the experiments and risks involved.”

[88] Inoculated prisoners with herpes simplex and zoster. “Despite a rather large series of inoculations, not a single success was obtained with molluscum eontagiosum, herpes simplex and herpes zoster.”

[89] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1749960/pdf/bullnyacadmed00211-0053.pdf 

[90] Malaria: “The most frequent symptom was headache followed in decreasing frequency by anorexia, abdominal pain, joint pain, nausea, myalgia, vomiting, chest pain, chills, and cramping.” [Sci-Hub link here]

[91] Viral Hepatitis - To infect prisoners - they got feces from an infected infant and then administered “20% stool suspension orally to each of four volunteers.” After an incubation period of 26 days, hepatitis with jaundice developed in one of the volunteers

[92] Induced Scurvy

[93] Although two of the prisoners escaped, the remaining four developed clinical signs of scurvy; follicular hyperkeratosis of the thighs, buttocks, calves, and the posterior aspects of the arms; swollen bleeding gums; perifollicular hemorrhages and congested follicles; and conjunctival hemorrhages.

[94] https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/education/whatischemistry/landmarks/szentgyorgyi.html 

[95] https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/014107680509801120

[96] The Philadelphia Inquirer broke the story on Jan 11th -front page story…. page 2,  page 3

[97] Sigmund was interviewed in Jan 25 this

Results from the experiments were allegedly stolen in 1981

[98] https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/dioxins-and-their-effects-on-human-health

[99] https://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/benefits/registry-exam.asp 

[100] Because of the extreme toxicity of this compound... 2,3,7,8-TCDD is extremely toxic to laboratory animals.

[101] Short-term exposure to high levels of dioxins and dioxin-like substances in occupational settings or following industrial accidents may cause skin lesions known as chloracne, which is persistent.

[102] https://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/conditions/ 

[103] Dioxins are highly toxic and can cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and also cause cancer.

[104] Severe toxicological responses have been associated with certain chlorodibenzodioxins. Paper written by Dow Chemical, 1973.

[105] An extensive body of published literature has appeared during the past 25 years that has been concerned primarily with one extremely toxic member of this class of compounds, 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin [Article published in 1980]

[106] Dow memo, 1965: “The effect of dioxin is systemic.” “In Germany, two workmen died, presumably due to exposure to dioxin.” A1988-95.

[107] Mr. Jones was one of the only Holmesburg inmates to successfully sue, receiving a $40,000 settlement. His subsequent effort to organize inmates for broader legal action fell apart.

[108] E.g. Tommy Lee Knott - after he was severely injured-  got $2000 settlement https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1969/07/29/89013926.html?action=click&contentCollection=Archives&module=LedeAsset&region=ArchiveBody&pgtype=article&pageNumber=20

[109] The dignity of clinical testing participants must always be the highest moral imperative, which is why this type of testing was discontinued more than 40 years ago. Our ethical code is completely aligned with the advanced protocols of today and the latest ethical guidelines from leading medical institutions. At the time of these studies, nearly 50 years ago, testing of this nature among this cohort set was widely accepted, including by prominent researchers, leading public companies, and the U.S. government itself. As the world’s largest healthcare company, our transparent, diligent approach to bioethics is at the heart of all we promise our customers and society." - Email from Johnson and Johnson.