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Compensation or compulsion?

Posted by plosmedicine on 30 Mar 2009 at 23:47 GMT

Author: Mpho Selemogo
Position: Final year medical student
Institution: The University of Melbourne
Additional Authors: none
Submitted Date: October 27, 2005
Published Date: October 27, 2005
This comment was originally posted as a “Reader Response” on the publication date indicated above. All Reader Responses are now available as comments.

Auvert. et al must be commended for showing some appreciation of the ethical issues raised by their research trial. The article itself, and the accompanying ethical review by Cleaton-Jones, however, both curiously seem to take the money issue lightly. The editorial is quite right in identifying the R300 payment as an issue.
Rather than just being told what R300 means in Euro terms, we need to be given an idea of what that sum meant to an average person enrolled in the study, so we could best review issues of autonomy which are often so problematic in such research. What was its impact in the recruitment process? Was the average income for the subjects, for instance, such that this money meant that one had no choice but to enroll, for economic reasons? The absence of such critical socioeconomic data on the background characteristics of the group, leaves one wondering if this money was a compulsive force for recruitment or indeed simply a matter of compensation as the authors assert.

Competing interests declared: I have no competing interests