Human subjects in medical research have been prevalent in science for decades, but a significant portion of this time went unregulated. This led to multiple unethical experiments funded by private entities or the governments like the case where Nazi soldiers experimented on Jewish subjects in the concentration-time. According to Daigle (2014), human subjects’ protection is essential because it allows certain individuals impunity.
IRB on Human Subjects in Medical Research
Therefore, the institutional review boards (IRB) necessitated that all human subjects participate in an experiment voluntarily. The researchers should ensure that human subjects understand the benefits and potential cost of the experiment. The benefits should, however, outweigh the potential side effects.
The experiment should be at the optimal benefit of the human subject, unlike the African-American subjects who were experimented with syphilis and denied the cure for years after its discovery. Institutional review boards (IRB) provides the benchmark of the protection of this subjects from unethical researchers.
Johns Hopkins Medicine on Human Subjects in Medical Research
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine (2015), human subjects’ protection in experiments is vital in ensuring that the experiment is safe for the subjects. The guiding principles in the ethical principle for human experiments are respect for persons, which dictate that the human subject should participate voluntarily. It is also important for the researcher to carry out a cost-benefit analysis to identify the human subject’s various ways to benefit from their participation.
They should also fully understand the various costs that could come as a result of the experiment. Finally, the concept of fairness and justice in the experiments ensures that the research’s costs and benefits are distributed evenly. The researcher should also do their best to minimize the potential risks to protect the human subject’s health. These are vital general guiding principles for the protection of human subjects.
Daigle, D. (2014). Research Ethics involving Human Subjects [Image]. Retrieved from
Johns Hopkins Medicine. (2015). Guiding Principles of Institutional Review Boards (IRB) [Video]. Retrieved from