Offering monetary reimbursement to trial participants contributes to successful recruitment and retention. Investigators planning reimbursement have to balance these benefits with ethical concerns such as coercion and undue influence. One has to carefully consider the appropriate amount, form (e.g., cash, check, gift card), and timing (e.g., before, during, or after the study) of compensation. Financial constraints are also an important factor to consider, as even a $2 per patient compensation can significantly cut into the trial budget in the case of large trials.
In a recent article featured on AccrualNet, Breitkopf et al. argue that a better understanding of how clinical research participants perceive financial incentives may help maximize clinical trial recruitment, enhance retention, and maintain scientific integrity. The researchers queried participants of a Phase I clinical trial about their perceptions regarding reimbursement. Most stated that reimbursement is unlikely to be coercive. Interestingly, some thought that the reimbursement amount matches or should match the level of risk. Published guidelines stipulate that no payment should be given for assumption of risk. It is therefore concerning that some patients may perceive studies that offer little or no reimbursement as being low risk.
Do you think reimbursements motivate people to participate in clinical trials? What are your main concerns regarding reimbursement in clinical trials? Have you heard any reactions from participants who have been offered reimbursement?