1. Cosmetics Come From Mutilated Prisoners
You may not know it by name, but somewhere in your house is Retin-A. All modern cosmetics use Retin-A, which is the active ingredient in most acne medicines and wrinkle removers.
It is so prevalent in our society that the World Health Organization calls it “one of the most important medications needed in a basic health system.” Though it may seem benign, this “youth in a jar” and other drugs only came about by forced experimentation on prisoners.
Following World War II, human experimentation was outlawed everywhere after the passage of the Nuremberg Code. Everywhere except Philadelphia, apparently.
From 1951 to 1974, dermatologist Albert Kligman went to Holmesburg Prison to test new drugs on the prisoners. At first, he said that he saw the prisoners not as human beings but as “acres of skin.” Funded by the CIA, Dow Chemical, and Johnson & Johnson, Kligman used the prisoners as biological guinea pigs.
Some of his greatest hits include pulling the skin off people with Scotch tape, yanking out fingernails, directly pouring Agent Orange on open wounds, slipping LSD to patients, and forcing people to stay in rooms with radioactive isotopes.
The most common treatment was giving prisoners experimental versions of the drugs to monitor the effects. One of the many drugs developed this way was the first iteration of Retin-A. An unknown number of people died from these experiments.