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The Declaration of Helsinki and research in vulnerable populations

Bebe Loff and Jim Black
Med J Aust 2000; 172 (6): 292-295.
Published online: 20 March 2000

Mooted changes to the Declaration on the agenda of the World Medical Association have sparked a vigorous debate on international research issues. The medical, research and ethics communities in Australia need to participate more broadly in this debate.

The Nuremberg Code, which was formulated to prevent a recurrence of the horrific medical experiments carried out on humans during World War II, is unwavering in its commitment to the primacy of the human subject. It states that any person who is a research participant "should be so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice" and that "(t)he experiment should be such as to yield fruitful results for the good of society, unprocurable by other methods or means of study, and not random and unnecessary in nature."1

  • Bebe Loff
  • Jim Black


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