John Hopkins University is in hot water for a government experiment they conducted more than 65 years ago that infected hundreds of individuals with an STD.
Nearly 800 former research subjects, who served as U.S. government guinea pigs for a 1940s and 50s study in Guatemala, are suing the institution for $1 billion for allegedly infecting them with sexually transmitted diseases. The lawsuit says John Hopkins created and designed the Guatemala experiment, approved and recommended them for funding and oversaw, monitored and concealed the nature in which the study was carried out.
“They kept a lid on it, making sure that nobody knew about it, and they actively deceived these people. There was no consent obtained for and from anybody,” said Paul Bekman, who serves as one of the attorney’s representing the victims and their families.
Despite the allegations, John Hopkins says they are not to be held responsible for the study, which was carried out on women, orphans and soldiers.
“Doctors who were employers of Johns Hopkins went to NIH and served on NIH study committees in their capacity on behalf of the federal government, but not on behalf of Johns Hopkins,” said Robert Mathias, lead counsel for Johns Hopkins.
Mathias, who spoke out about the case, described the lawsuit as having no merit and being beyond its statue of limitations. The lawsuit also names the Rockefeller Foundation and New York pharmaceutical company Bristol Meyers Squibb in the document.
For more than half a century since the experiment was conducted, scholars, ethicists and clinicians have worked with government officials to enforce rigorous ethical standards for human research.
Source: CBS Baltimore