Paying Research Subjects: A Survey of Current Policies. Ann Intern Med. 2002;136:I38. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-136-5-200203050-00004
Download citation file:
Published: Ann Intern Med. 2002;136(5):I38.
Research organizations, such as universities and drug companies, sometimes pay people who participate in health-related research studies. People disagree about whether it is right to pay research subjects. Some worry that large payments might entice people to participate in research that without payment they would consider too risky. There are no clear rules about when to pay research subjects or how much it is appropriate to pay, so each research organization must create its own rules. Research organizations might benefit from knowing how others decide about paying research subjects.
To learn about research organizations' rules and policies for paying research subjects.
The study included 32 organizations involved in health-related research: 9 universities, 7 large drug companies, 8 contract research organizations, and 8 independent institutional review boards. Contract research organizations are groups that collect data for research initiated by other parties, mostly drug companies. Institutional review boards review research proposals before research begins to decide whether the research plan is ethical.
The researchers contacted a leader at each of the organizations in 1998 or 1999, described the study, and asked for permission to include the organization in the study. They asked each of the leaders to provide information about how often the organization paid research subjects and about the organization's policies or guidelines for deciding about payment.
Of the 32 organizations, 30 reported that they had paid subjects in at least one study approved during 1997. One organization reported no paid studies, and another did not know whether any subjects had received payment. Only a few organizations knew precisely how many studies offered payment to subjects. Only approximately one third of the organizations said that they had written rules to guide payment of research subjects. The organizations reported a wide variety of methods for deciding when to pay and how to pay. Often, the organizations left it up to the researchers or the institutional review board to decide about payment. It was common for organizations to require researchers to spread the payments out over the course of the study and to include information about payment on the forms that patients signed when they agreed to participate in the study.
The 32 organizations may not be typical of many other research organizations in the United States. It is possible that organizations that had no policies at the time of the study (1997 to 1999) have since developed them.
Although most research organizations pay research subjects, few have written rules to guide payment. Written rules might help to make payment more consistent.
The In the Clinic® slide sets are owned and copyrighted by the American College of Physicians (ACP). All text, graphics, trademarks, and other intellectual property incorporated into the slide sets remain the sole and exclusive property of the ACP. The slide sets may be used only by the person who downloads or purchases them and only for the purpose of presenting them during not-for-profit educational activities. Users may incorporate the entire slide set or selected individual slides into their own teaching presentations but may not alter the content of the slides in any way or remove the ACP copyright notice. Users may make print copies for use as hand-outs for the audience the user is personally addressing but may not otherwise reproduce or distribute the slides by any means or media, including but not limited to sending them as e-mail attachments, posting them on Internet or Intranet sites, publishing them in meeting proceedings, or making them available for sale or distribution in any unauthorized form, without the express written permission of the ACP. Unauthorized use of the In the Clinic slide sets will constitute copyright infringement.
Results provided by:
Copyright © 2016 American College of Physicians. All Rights Reserved.
Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
Conditions of Use
This PDF is available to Subscribers Only