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Experimental Treatment Without Consent

StoryNovember 15, 1996
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Mary Pendergast

Deputy commission of the FDA


Last month the FDA quietly abandoned a 50 year old regulation, requiring doctors to get a person’s informed consent before conducting experiments. The FDA claims the new rules benefit those needing emergency treatment. Opponents raise the specter of Nazi doctors and US radiation experiments.

Goodman plays a pre-taped interview with FDA Deputy Commissioner Mary Pendergast via phone. Pendergast explains that emergency experimental treatment must meet strict guidelines and where informed consent is not conceivable. Goodman contends that these guidelines would target homeless or others without families for experimentation, and pharmaceutical companies have something to gain by expanding their research field. Pendergast says safeguards are in place to prevent unwarranted interference by drug companies on experimental treatment.


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