East Germany allowed Western pharma firms to test new drugs in hospital patients without consent

Looks like news of the Nuremberg Code might not have traveled the 317 km from Nuremberg to Berlin until 1996.

Merco Press reports:

According to German news weekly Der Spiegel, firms such as Bayer and Novartis were involved in more than 600 clinical studies at dozens of hospitals in the former German Democratic Republic (GDR). The companies allegedly offered up to 800,000 Deutschmarks (about 410,000 Euros) per trial.

Among other things, the companies tested chemotherapy drugs and heart medication. Other substances fresh from the laboratory were reportedly given to premature babies. Many people are believed to have died as a consequence of the trials. One of the institutions involved was Berlin’s renowned Charité hospital.

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