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pharma lab rats
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Joined: 02 May 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2006 3:49 pm    Post subject: pharma lab rats Reply with quote


Lab Rats
A new book revisits shocking experiments on Pennsylvania prisoners

by Jennifer Gonnerman
July 1 - 7, 1998

PHILADELPHIA-For two decades, a doctor at the University of
Pennsylvania School of Medicine transformed a Philadelphia penitentiary
into his personal laboratory. Albert Kligman, a world-famous
dermatologist, conducted hundreds of experiments on inmates behind the
walls of Holmesburg prison before a public outcry shut down his
operation in 1974. Kligman's studies ranged from the seemingly
harmless-tests of toothpaste, shampoo, and deodorant-to the
obviously risky, putting dioxin on prisoners' faces and having them
consume mind-altering drugs. Along the way, he made millions of dollars
from the pharmaceutical companies that financed his experiments.
One of Kligman's guinea pigs was Leodus Jones. When he crossed paths
with Kligman in the 1960s, Jones was young and desperate for bail
money. He could earn a mere 15 cents a day performing menial prison
jobs like sewing trousers. Or he could become a test subject. Jones
decided to join four experiments and earned close to $100 for letting
researchers test chemicals on his feet, legs, arms, and back. Light and
dark marks covered his body for several years afterward. Three decades
later, Jones, now 55, still wonders what exactly he was exposed to and
how it may have affected his and his children's health.

Now, a recently released exposť has sparked new interest in this
controversial chapter of American medical history. Allen Hornblum's
Acres of Skin: Human Experiments at Holmesburg Prison; A True Story of
Abuse and Exploitation in the Name of Medical Science is the first
in-depth account of what may have been the nation's busiest human
laboratory. Like Miss Evers' Boys, the recent film about the infamous
Tuskegee syphilis study, Acres of Skin calls attention to the shocking
forms that medical research has taken over the years. In the wake of
this book's publication, the ACLU's Pennsylvania chapter is considering
filing a lawsuit on behalf of those who participated in the Holmesburg

The villain in Acres of Skin is Kligman, best known for creating the
skin cream Retin A, which he tested on Holmesburg prisoners. Prison
officials initially recruited the dermatologist to help with an
outbreak of athlete's foot. But when Kligman walked into Holmesburg,
"All I saw before me were acres of skin," Kligman told a reporter in
1966. "It was like a farmer seeing a fertile field for the first time."

With easy access to this 1200-plus inmate population, Kligman had no
trouble finding cheap volunteers for medical trials--or companies
willing to pay him to test their products. Most inmates agreed to
participate in the experiments, which generated millions of dollars in
revenue for Kligman and the University of Pennsylvania. Kligman's long
list of clients included Pfizer, Helena Rubenstein, Johnson & Johnson,
R. J. Reynolds Tobacco, and the U.S. Army.

Former inmates say the most common experiment was the "patch test."
Researchers marked a gridon prisoners' backs and applied different
lotions and ointments in each box. Then they stuck adhesive strips and
gauze pads on the men's backs. "Guys looked like zebras when the
patchescame off," a retired guard recalls in Acres of Skin. Today, at
neighborhood pools in Philadelphia, former Holmesburg inmates can still
identify one another by the designs on their backs.

Ugly scars were hardly the only side effects of Kligman's studies. When
Roy Williams agreed to test shampoo, his hair started falling out. "I
didn't really have a dandruff problem, but I did after that test,"
Williams said to Hornblum."The lotion removed my hair and anything else
on my head."

Researchers told inmates little about the experiments. So prisoners
quizzed fellow inmates who worked with the doctors in order to learn
which tests were safest. Word on the prison grapevine was that
Kligman's most dangerous studies took place inside the trailers parked
at the prison. There, Kligman tested mind-altering drugs for the U.S.
Army--even though this was far outside his specialty of dermatology.

One test subject was Johnnie Williams. Researchers gave him an
injection, put him in a padded cell, and videotaped him. "Almost
immediately I felt affected," Williams says in Acres of Skin. "I
couldn't control myself and I told them to get this s**t out of me."

Williams began hallucinating. He ripped the toilet out of the floor and
the cell door off its hinges. The drug's effects lasted for years,
Williams believes. "I had been a guy who tried to avoid arguments," he
told Hornblum, "but after the tests . . . I went from petty thievery
and busting into cars to shootings and assaults. I had major problems
after the tests. [They] made me violent."

Hornblum first learned about Kligman's experiments in 1971, when he was
a 23-year-old literacy instructor at Holmesburg. He still remembers the
shock he felt as he watched inmates walking around with gauze stuck to
their backs. "You had an incarcerated population in a totalitarian
atmosphere," Hornblum said in a recent interview. "The prison
population at that point was overwhelmingly African American--about 85
per cent--and the education level was pitiful. You didn't have to be a
bioethicist to know this is a recipe for disaster."

Still haunted by his memories of Holmesburg more than 20 years later,
Hornblum decided to investigate. A longtime prison reform advocate,
Hornblum was working as the chief of staff in the city sheriff's office
in 1993. He quit his job, moved in with his mother, and began making
daily trips to the University of Pennsylvania's medical library.

The Holmesburg experiments were difficult to research, however. For
starters, Kligman had destroyed all his records after national
publicity led to the closing of his laboratory. Jessica Mitford's 1973
exposť, Kind and Usual Punishment: The Prison Business, led to a ban
on the nationwide practice of using inmates as guinea pigs. When
Hornblum decided to dig up the truth about Kligman's involvement, he
found dozens of former inmates who wanted to talk but knew virtually
nothing about what they had been exposed to. And when Hornblum phoned
doctors who had worked for Kligman, almost all of them hung up or
cursed him out.

Eventually, by combining inmate interviews with documents he got under
the Freedom of Information Act, Hornblum was able to piece together
Acres of Skin. Still, he wonders how much has yet to be uncovered.
Bernard Ackerman, who studied under Kligman and now heads the Institute
for Dermatopathology at Philadelphia's Jefferson Medical College,
believes there is much more to this tale. "Hornblum really only
scratched the surface, but through no fault of his own," Ackerman says.
"He got no cooperation."

Near the end of his reporting, Hornblum telephoned Kligman, who is now
82 and a professor emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania School of
Medicine. Kligman spoke for only 20 minutes before cutting off the
interview. "All we did . . . is offer them money for a little piece of
their skin," Kligman said. He insisted his tests were innocuous, railed
against the "liberals" and "do-gooders" who had opposed him, and bashed
critics who compared his prison experiments to the work of Nazi
doctors. "I'm Jewish!" he said. "It struck me as ludicrous and
incredible that I'd be compared to that."

The University of Pennsylvania released a statement defending Kligman's
work, which read in part, "In the 1950s and 1960s, the use of willing,
compensated prisoners for biomedical research was a commonly accepted
practice by this nation's scientists." Nevertheless, Hornblum opens
Acres of Skin with the Nuremberg Code, which was written after the
Holocaust to ensure that doctors never again exploited powerless
populations in the name of medical advancement. "What took place at
Holmesburg is not on the same plane as what took place at Auschwitz,
but it is on the same continuum," Hornblum says. At Holmesburg, "they
weren't using kids at fancy prep schools. They weren't using the string
section of the Philadelphia orchestra. They were using prisoners like
lab rats. The inmates were brought out for a short period of time, they
were experimented on, and then they were forgotten about."


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medicine forum Guru

Joined: 01 May 2005
Posts: 1807

PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 12:00 am    Post subject: Re: pharma lab rats Reply with quote

I do NOT see any positive theme here on this thread.

Just thought that you might want to know that your constant complaining
doesn't help anyone.

Cheers ...
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medicine forum Guru

Joined: 28 Apr 2005
Posts: 1522

PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 12:24 am    Post subject: Re: pharma lab rats Reply with quote

Mr. Natural-Health wrote:
I do NOT see any positive theme here on this thread.

I see one ...

The University of Pennsylvania ALSO seems to be falling down when it
comes to iron toxicity ..

They seem to be holding alot of cards when it comes to the studying of
the effects of iron .. and they seem to have .. coincidentally ..
MISSED .. alot of adverse effects of .. iron .

Couldn't be ANOTHER one of the 'wait and see' Tuskeegee experiments ..

Nahh ..

Who loves ya.

Jesus Was A Vegetarian!

Man Is A Herbivore!

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medicine forum Guru

Joined: 02 May 2005
Posts: 1814

PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 1:00 am    Post subject: Re: pharma lab rats Reply with quote

Mr. Natural-Health wrote:
I do NOT see any positive theme here on this thread.

Just thought that you might want to know that your constant complaining
doesn't help anyone.

Cheers ...

Could you please explain to me why this matters? This is a public and
open forum, if you do not like what people post, just foad and problem

And no one cares what you think. I just thought you might want to know.

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