Scientific letters

Clinical trial remuneration: The patients' perspective

Lesley J Burgess, Nicky Sulzer, Shaunagh Emanuel


Objectives: (1) To document the opinions of trial participants regarding patient remuneration; (2) To investigate what amount of money would represent undue inducement. Design: Patients attending TREAD Research, located within Tygerberg Hospital, Parow, Western Cape, South Africa between January 2005 and May 2006 were approached to participate in the study. Consenting patients were given a validated questionnaire to complete in their home language. All questionnaires were anonymous. Subjects: 250 consecutive patients completed the questionnaire. Patients provided basic demographic data and were asked various questions regarding subject remuneration and for what purpose they used their trial remuneration money. Outcome measures: Opinions of trial participants regarding patient remuneration. Results: 66.5% of respondents were unemployed. The median (lower and upper quartile) monthly family income was R1 800 (R740 and R5 200). 74.1% felt that trial participants should receive payment at their clinic visits, yet 93.6% indicated that they would still participate if they received no payment. R150 would not tempt 90.0% of participants to withhold information about their true state of health in order to take part in a study. 72.9% responded that payment should be received to pay for travel expenses, 13.9% as an incentive to participate and 13.1% for time spent. Conclusions: Blanket compensation for clinical trial participation is contentious. These results suggest that trial remuneration should be an individualised amount based on reimbursing patients for transport expenses and their time.

Key words: clinical trials, undue inducement, patient remuneration

Authors' affiliations

Lesley J Burgess,

Nicky Sulzer,

Shaunagh Emanuel,

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clinical trials; undue inducement; patient remuneration

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2008;98(2):95.

Article History

Date submitted: 2007-09-04
Date published: 2008-02-11

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