Paying research participants
Kathy Boutis and Donald J Willison say financial compensation is unavoidable, but how much should participants in clinical research get?
- By: Kathy Boutis, Donald J Willison
Clinical research would be impossible without the participation of willing human participants. But paying participants in clinical research is contested among investigators, members of research ethics boards, and ethicists. Some defend payments for participation as fair and appropriate, but others find them problematic and even offensive or unethical.1234
We summarise some of the ethical challenges in considering paying participants in clinical trials. We describe three models commonly proposed for compensation.5 And we recommend evidence based approaches for paying participants to help investigators ensure high standards of safety while maximising recruitment.
Potential participants in research should be independently screened for conditions that would put them at moderate to high risk if they were to participate.
The model of payment should be specific to the type of study and the target population. However, we prefer the wage payment model. It decreases the chances of exploitation because participants have other options for earning