Mutual Obligations in Research and Withholding Payment From Deceptive Participants image

The American Journal of Bioethics, 2018, Issue 4, Volume 18
Holly Fernandez Lynch (Former Executive Director), Luke Gelinas (Senior Researcher), & Emily A. Largent


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From the article:

Paying research participants can be ethically charged, both when payment is offered and—as demonstrated in this case—when it is withheld. When individuals undergoing screening intentionally deceive investigators as to their eligibility, withholding payment to which they would otherwise be entitled is both ethically acceptable and practically important.

In addition to conceptual concerns related to the validity of informed consent, one worry about offering payment to research participants is that such offers will induce them to lie about eligibility criteria or other factors, such as experiencing adverse events. This sort of deception is problematic because it may place research participants at increased risk of harm and/or jeopardize the scientific integrity and social value of the study (Largent and Lynch 2017a). Thus, investigators are prudent to take steps to avoid payment-induced deception.

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health care finance health law policy holly fernandez lynch luke gelinas public health