Minority Health Archive

The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment: biotechnology and the administrative state.

Roy, B (1995) The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment: biotechnology and the administrative state. Journal of the National Medical Association, 87 (1). pp. 56-67. ISSN 0027-9684

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Abstract

The central issue of the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment was property: property in the body and intellectual property. Once removed from the body, tissue and body fluids were not legally the property of the Tuskegee subjects. Consequently, there was not a direct relationship between a patient and research that used his sera. The Public Health Service (PHS) was free to exercise its property right in Tuskegee sera to develop serologic tests for syphilis with commercial potential. To camouflage the true meaning, the PHS made a distinction between direct clinical studies and indirect studies of tissue and body fluids. This deception caused all reviews to date to limit their examination to documents labeled by the PHS as directly related to the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment. This excluded other information in the public domain. Despite the absence of a clinical protocol, this subterfuge led each to falsely conclude that the Tuskagee Syphilis Experiment was a clinical study. Based on publications of indirect research using sera and cerebrospinal fluid, this article conceives a very history of the Tuskagee Syphilis Experiment. Syphilis could only cultivate in living beings. As in slavery, the generative ability of the body made the Tuskegee subjects real property and gave untreated syphilis and the sera of the Tuskegee subjects immense commercial value. Published protocols exploited the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment to invent and commercialize biotechnology for the applied science of syphilis serology.


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Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, Tuskegee, intellectual property, syphilis, clinical study
Subjects: Health > Health Equity > Bioethics
Research
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Depositing User: Users 141 not found.
Date Deposited: 28 May 2011 13:39
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2012 22:11
Link to this item (URI): http://health-equity.pitt.edu/id/eprint/2529

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