Foreign Bodies: The New Victims of Unethical Experimentation

17 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2015

Date Written: February 2015


Despite a number of beneficent outcomes, clinical trials on human subjects have exposed some of the worst forms of state crime, most notably in Nazi Germany. Even with the subsequent establishment of guidelines for the protection of human subjects, such as the Nuremberg Code, clinical trials resulting in death and injury is a continuing feature of medical research, especially as Western states outsource more trials to the private sector where profit margins often trump personal safety. Focusing on the clinical trials business in India, the article argues that the exploitation of human subjects in developing countries, affecting as it does the most vulnerable groups, must be understood as a form of state‐corporate crime. In this way, the moral distance we prefer to place between Nazi medical crimes and those committed in the interests of neoliberal values becomes less viable and the need for effective responses to unethical clinical trials more pressing.

Keywords: stateā€corporate harm, unethical trials, India, vulnerable populations

Suggested Citation

Rawlinson, Paddy and Yadavendu, Vijay Kumar, Foreign Bodies: The New Victims of Unethical Experimentation (February 2015). The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, Vol. 54, Issue 1, pp. 8-24, 2015. Available at SSRN: or

Vijay Kumar Yadavendu

Magadh University

Bodhgaya, Bihar, 824234

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