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How the AZT trial violated the Nuremberg Code, the Declaration of Helsinki and the Belmont Report code

Introduction

The AZT trials describe the short course that aimed at preventing the mother-to-child transmission of HIV. It was noted that the trials were mostly permitted in high-income countries, where a more complex “076 regime” was termed as the standard of care for most of the HIV participants existed. There was a debate conducted and was concerned with ethical double standards of care given to most pregnant HIV mothers (Skolnik, 2016). Studies conducted have remained controversial to date. This paper discusses how the AZT trial violated the Nuremberg Code, the Declaration of Helsinki and the Belmont Report code.

The AZT Trials Violations

The Nuremberg Code

The Nuremberg code is referred to a set of research ethics, which deals with the human experimentation set (National Institutes of Health, 2009). In the AZT trials, there was no first document presented to specify ethical principles that were crucial in guiding the physician on how to engage in the human research. Voluntary consent of the human subject was not sought efficiently whereby, such an act violated the Nuremberg Code (National Institutes of Health, 2009). There were limits and enough safeguard measures put in place at the risk of the participants. Such failures contributed to the violation of the Nuremberg code.  The AZT trials did not base their trials well on the previous knowledge; neither did the experiment avoid unnecessary physical, mental suffering and injuries. After participating in an HIV clinical trial that was conducted in Sub-Sahara Africa, a woman was left without resources to even buy a bus ticket to a health clinic (National Institutes of Health, 2009). Such a-act by the AZT trials violated the Nuremberg Code.  The woman was left all on her own to afford the life-saving antiretroviral, and this revealed that those carrying out the research took advantage of the person highly affected by the HIV epidemic. Such doing was a very hostile act, and the AZT trials violated the Nuremberg Code. The trials were conducted when there was no reason for risk of disability, injury and through doing this it violated the Nuremberg Code. The woman who was left to cater for her bills was not given the permission to stop the experiment when she felt that she could not go on with it. It was the responsibility of the medical staff to halt the trial for the woman once they observed that continuation would have been dangerous to her. Failure of not doing that made them violate the Nuremberg Code. The staff who conducted the trials were not adequately trained, and that is the reason as to why they could not take full responsibility for their actions. Through doing that they violated the Nuremberg Code, which requires entirely training of workers who must also be scientifically qualified for the trial.   

Declaration of Helsinki

            Helsinki is medical research that involves and includes human subjects to get material and data required for the study. Some of the groups and individuals are very vulnerable and incur additional harm. However, in this case, the humans used as samples were not well given special protection as required by the Declaration of Helsinki, thus violating its rules and regulations. The medical research conducted in vulnerable groups, thus violating Helsinki code which requires an analysis to only be carried to vulnerable groups if responsive to health needs (Brock & Wikler, 2006). The vulnerable groups whose data are given only should emerge to profit by the learning, practices of even intercessions coming about because of the examination, but in this case, it was opposite. The groups where research was conducted proved not to benefit from the knowledge of the research with all practices employed for use implying that the Declaration of Helsinki was violated.  The human subjects, in this case, were not clearly described and justified in a research protocol as it is required in a Declaration of Helsinki code meaning that it was violated.

The Belmont Report

             The Belmont report condenses the essential moral standards which were recognized by the commission over the span of its considerations.Specific recommendations were not made on matters to do with the administrative action by the secretary of health who was in charge of health issues when the AZT trials were being conducted.  The rules that were used in the trials were very compacted for one to understand them, and so the Belmont report was violated as it requires the use of standards that are accurate and easily understood by all (Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, 1974). Some of the principles utilized in the research were not relevant, and they led to the violation of the Belmont report. Human rights were not well respected in the case, and this resulted in a violation of Belmont report, which requires human rights to be respected accordingly (Skolnik, 2016).

Personal Reflection

Judgements ought to be made to identify what is a fairly through the use of a fair trial process where the participants are well treated and gains a lot of knowledge at the very end. Trial methods ought to be transparent about how decisions are made and use appropriate scientific data. All future challenges ought to be met in accordingly where unsolved ethical problems will be sorted accordingly. The issue of the lack of reviews of how investments are made should be dealt with accordingly.

Conclusion

             This paper discusses how the AZT trial violated the Nuremberg Code, the Declaration of Helsinki and the Belmont Report code. One would propose that all future challenges ought to be met in accordingly where unsolved ethical problems will be sorted accordingly. The AZT trials did not base their trials well on the previous knowledge; neither did the experiment avoid unnecessary physical, mental suffering and injuries. Some principles used in the research were not relevant, and they led to the violation of the Belmont Report code.

References

Brock, D., & Wikler, D. (2006). Ethical issues in research allocation, research and new product development. In D. T. Jamison, J. G. Breman, A. R. Measham, et al. (Eds.), Disease control priorities in developing countries. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK11739/ on 26th February 2016

Department of Health, Education and Welfare. (1974). The Belmont Report. Office of the Secretary. Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research. The National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research. Retrieved from https://science.education.nih.gov/supplements/nih9/bioethics/guide/teacher/Mod5_Belmont.pdf on 26th February 2016

National Institutes of Health. (2009). Laws Related to the  Protection of Human Subjects: The Nuremberg Code. Retrieved from https://history.nih.gov/about/timelines/nuremberg.html on 26th February 2016

Skolnik, R. (2016). Global Health 101. Essential Public Health. Third Edition. Jones and Bartley Learning

 

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