Compensating Clinical Trial Participants From Limited Resource Settings in Internationally Sponsored Clinical Trials: A Proposal

Malawi Med J. 2008 Jun;20(2):42-5. doi: 10.4314/mmj.v20i2.10955.


Trial participants from limited resource settings often are given very little or nothing in terms of compensation for time, inconvenience and risks as compared to their counterparts from developed countries. The reason that is often sited by researchers, ethics committees, and sponsors is the avoidance of undue inducements. We discuss the inherent conflict that may arise in trying to avoid undue inducement and in trying to minimize injustice in international research. We argue that research participants from both industrialized nations and those from limited resource settings should be compensated equally since they suffer the same burdens and equally contribute towards the study by contributing the same product data. We make recommendations that acknowledge and address the existing injustice in the compensation of trial participants in international research.

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research / economics*
  • Biomedical Research / ethics
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / ethics*
  • Compensation and Redress / ethics
  • Conflict of Interest
  • Developing Countries
  • Humans
  • Internationality
  • Patient Selection / ethics*
  • Research Subjects / economics*
  • Social Justice / ethics
  • Vulnerable Populations