Hi there,

If you think Democracy Now!’s reporting is a critical line of defense against war, climate catastrophe and authoritarianism, please make your donation of $10 or more right now. Today, a generous donor will DOUBLE your donation, which means it’ll go 2x as far to support our independent journalism. Democracy Now! is funded by you, and that’s why we’re counting on your donation to keep us going strong. Please give today. Every dollar makes a difference—in fact, gets doubled! Thank you so much.
-Amy Goodman

Non-commercial news needs your support.

We rely on contributions from you, our viewers and listeners to do our work. If you visit us daily or weekly or even just once a month, now is a great time to make your monthly contribution.

Please do your part today.

Donate

Acres of Skin — Human Medical Experimentation

Listen
Media Options
Listen

Acres of Skin is a disturbing expose, set in Philadelphia’s Holmesburg prison.

From the early 1950s through the mid-1970s, Holmesburg’s inmates were used, in exchange for a few dollars, as guinea pigs in a host of medical experiments.

Hundreds of prisoners were used to test products from facial creams and skin moisturizers to perfumes, detergents, and anti-rash treatments. Other experiments used the inmates as test subjects for far more hazardous, even potentially lethal, substances such as radioactive isotopes, dioxin, and chemical warfare agents.

Based on in-depth interviews with dozens of prisoners as well as the doctors and prison officials who, respectively, performed and permitted these experiments, Hornblum paints a disturbing portrait of abuse, moral indifference, and greed. Central to this account are the millions of dollars many of America’s leading drug and consumer goods companies made available for the eager doctors seeking fame and fortune through their medical experiments.

Guests:

  • Allen Hornblum is the author of Acres of Skin: Human Experiments at Holmesburg Prison
  • Leotus Jones is a former prisoner and subject of human experimentation at Holmesburg prison.
  • David Price is a former prisoner and subject of human experimentation at Holmesburg prison.
  • Dr. Benard Ackerman was a medical resident from the University of Pennsylvania who conducted some of the experiments at Holmesburg prison. He was studying at the time under Dr. Kligman, the University of Pennsylvania professor who headed the tests. Ackerman is now one of the nation’s leading dermatopathologists.

NOTE: At the end of this story, Mr. Hornblum reads a quote from a study he credits to Dr. Ackerman. In fact, the report is by Dr. Kligman.
.
.
.

Related Story

StoryAug 07, 2023“It’s a Way of Reparations”: Why Henrietta Lacks Settlement Matters for Bioethics & Racial Justice
The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

Non-commercial news needs your support

We rely on contributions from our viewers and listeners to do our work.
Please do your part today.
Make a donation
Top