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Clinical trial volunteers mostly indifferent -- but not blind to -- researchers' financial conflicts
Date:4/4/2008

Unless a researcher has stock ownership in a company whose drug is being tested, telling potential research volunteers about an investigators financial interests is unlikely to affect their willingness to volunteer, a new study shows.

But, the results also show that many research volunteers put less trust in clinical trial leaders with financial conflicts.

Though peoples willingness to take part in a hypothetical clinical trial did not differ substantially based on the types of financial disclosures, and many of our study respondents were still likely to say that they would participate despite researchers financial interests, we captured a sense of unease about some financial ties-particularly owning company stock-that did affect peoples attitudes and trust in clinical research, says Jeremy Sugarman, M.D., M.P.H., M.A., professor at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

We need to keep this in mind as we determine how best to disclose acceptable financial interests to fully inform potential study participants.

The study, led by Sugarman and colleagues at Duke University showed that potential research participants were significantly less trustful of the researcher if the studys leader owned stock in the drugs maker.

Ties between companies and physicians who do research with them are becoming more transparent, but its been unclear how well this information is understood by the public and to what extent they influence people who consider enrolling in clinical trials, Sugarman says. Our study offers some of the first clear insights on the impact of disclosures of this information.

For the study, Sugarman and his colleagues at Duke University School of Medicine and Wake Forest Schools of Medicine and Law recruited 3,623 adults with asthma or diabetes from a national database of individuals who are willing to participate in internet-based research. Overall,
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Contact: Christen Brownlee
cbrownlee@jhmi.edu
410-955-7832
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Source:Eurekalert

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