The Nazis and Nuremberg Clinical Trials: What went wrong?

nazi clinical trial on human

Clinical trials: The current procedure:

Clinical trials are conducted to test the efficacy of a drug. These trials ensure whether a drug is safe for use or not. The trials are conducted after obtaining the ICF i.e. the Informed Consent Form from the patients. The subject is given complete information about the drug, nutritional supplement etc. related to which the trial will be conducted. He is given ample of time to go through the ICF, read and understand it, in case of any query; the subject can always put up questions.


The doctors from hell, did they really exist? The answer to this question is YES. Take a leap into the history of cruel experimentation and torture the human race suffered from.

The Nazi experimentation period dates back to the World War II. Nazi experimentation was conducted by a team of 20 doctors on the prisoners who were present at the concentration camps. Moreover there was no rule followed for obtaining consent, leave that, they were not even informed about the kind of experimentation that would be done on them. Most of the experiments were done on the Jewish prisoners. Typically, these kinds of experimentation led to disfigurement of the human body, disability and death of many.

Reasons of conducting experiments:

The prisoners were put through horrifying conditions for the betterment of the armed forces of Germany. These trials helped Hitler and its subordinates understand how their army men can improve.

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Nazi Nuremberg Human Experimentation:

  • The prisoners were subjected to various experiments. One of the most common experiment conducted providing conditions similar to high altitude without the oxygen chambers. This experiment was done to help the German pilots who were subjected to high altitude conditions.
  • Twin children experimentation was also done to understand what kind of similarities as well difference do people of similar genetic make – up share.
  • The freezing experiments helped understand how German forces can be benefitted as they suffered from similar conditions. Herein the subjects had to bear the conditions of ice cold tank for about 5 – 6 hours.


In August 1947, the team of Nazi doctors were convicted of the heinous crimes they had committed. Soon after, the Nuremberg Code was enforced which have a set of rules related to the clinical trials that will be conducted on the patients. One of the most important rules was obtaining the informed consent of the subject and explaining the subject about the experiment. Overall, the code consists of ten points that are to be followed.

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