Perceptions of Reimbursement for Clinical Trial Participation

Posted: Nov 29, 2011
J Empir Res Hum Res Ethics. 6. 3. 31-8.
KEYWORDS: Knowledge/Attitudes/Beliefs, Remuneration, Study Burden, Provider Influence, Women, Non-Cancer


According to patients, participant reimbursement amounts should be commensurate with unknown risks involved in a clinical trial.

Why this item may be useful

Financial compensation contributes to successful recruitment and retention, but its use raises concerns about undue influence and coercion. This study explored women’s perceptions of reimbursement in a Phase I trial. Overall, the women viewed reimbursement as a benefit to participation and as unlikely to be coercive. Many linked reimbursement level to risk, suggesting that low-reimbursement studies may be erroneously perceived as being low risk. The results reported herein may provide guidance to those planning to include participant reimbursement in their clinical trial design.


  • Thirty participants in a Phase I clinical trial of a new vaginal imaging method were interviewed about their perceptions regarding reimbursement. Many of the participants were employed in research labs or had previously participated in clinical trials.
  • The trial involved potential emotional concerns and procedures that could be viewed as uncomfortable or embarrassing.
  • Reimbursement amounts were $100 for the screening visit and $125 each for visits one through three. Reimbursement was dispensed as cash at the end of each visit.
  • Nearly all women indicated that the reimbursement level was adequate. The majority stated that reimbursement should be greater when participants are asked to accept unknown risks. Nearly all women expected higher reimbursement in studies testing experimental products.