The text used on these latex sheets is of testimonies, confessions, letters, interview statements, hearings, and depositions by doctors reporting on human medical experiments that involve questionable consent by those who “volunteer” as research subjects. The cases range from World War II radiation experiments, to pharmaceutical drug testing in the 21st century. One may be tempted to separate corporate testing (often economically driven) from governmental experiments (motivated by security or ideology). But there is a lot of crossover between military concerns, scientific progress, and business venture, and it is thus misleading to draw distinct lines. However, a common denominator is the subject’s lesser power and authority than that of the experimenters.
The title, Closed Cases, alludes to our assumption that human rights abuses in form of medical experiments belong to the past and are no longer a concern, since most have been brought to public attention and testing has changed accordingly. While the larger part of the cases referred to here are indeed closed, the title also points to all the open cases, most of which take place in so-called developing countries. If testing is done on home turf in the US, often in testing centers outsourced by pharma companies, the human subjects are low-income or people in desperate need of money, such as illegal immigrants or homeless people. In other cases, test subjects might be unconscious or severely sick patients in hospitals. In all cases, advantage is taken of the subjects’ plight.