Paying for Patients

How much should researchers pay clinical trial subjects?

By Alla Katsnelson

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1 The wide range of payments, from $5 to $2,000 with a median of $155, also surprised her. "Everyone is worried so much about payment," says Grady, "but the amounts were pretty modest."

The wide range of payments, from $5 to $2,000 with a median of $155, is surprising to Christine Grady. "Everyone is worried so much about payment, but the amounts were pretty modest."

The only thing that seemed clear was that "there doesn't seem to be a lot of clarity," she says.

Ethicists worry about payment because of two theoretical concerns. First, money may tempt people to agree to take risks they might not take otherwise. "If money clouds your judgment, it's doing something that we would all consider unacceptable," says Scott Halpern, a senior fellow in the University of Pennsylvania's department...

1. C. Grady et al., "An analysis of U.S. practices of paying research participants," Contemp Clin Trials, 26:365-75, 2005.
2. S. Halpern et al., "Empirical assessment of whether moderate payments are undue or unjust inducements for participation in clinical trials," Arch Intern Med, 164:801-3, 2004.
3. D.S. Festinger et al., "Do research payments precipitate drug use or coerce participation?" Drug Alcohol Depend, 88:275-81, 2005.
4. E.B. Ripley et al., "Paying clinical research participants: One institution's research ethics committees' perspective," J Emp Res Hum Res Ethics, 1:37-44, 2006.

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