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Friday, July 12, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Woman Says She Was Burned as a Guinea Pig

HACKENSACK, N.J. (CN) - A woman claims the Consumer Product Testing Company offered her money to become a human guinea pig, then "applied a chemical compound to [her] back" that caused "burns and discoloration," but "dismissed her complaints as groundless and offered no medical services or advice."

"It is unethical to induce individuals to participate in human subject research by using money as the principal incentive," Edith Parra claims in Bergen County Court.

The complaint does not state how much she was paid or what the product was.

Parra says the New Jersey-based "human subject research facility ... was offering monies to individuals who agree to participate in human subject research experiments," and told her that the experiment was "safe" and that she "would suffer no harm if she participated."

Parra, who says she signed up for the tests to earn some extra money, claims that "when money is offered as an incentive to participate in a human subject experiment in order to induce subjects to participate, the experiment is no longer voluntary but coerced."

Parra says she developed the scars on her back from the testing, "which appear to be permanent."

She claims the company violated ethical principles because "it treated the human subjects as guinea pigs" and treated her and fellow testers "not as autonomous agents but merely as a means to an end."

She seeks damages for negligence, lack of informed consent, and breach of fiduciary duty, claiming that the company failed to "disclose all the risks of participating in the experiment, including ... the risk of permanent scarring."

She is represented by Alan Milstein of Pennsauken, N.J.

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