Clinical Trials – Are They Safe And Ethical?

Clinical trials are commonly done to test the effectiveness and safety of drugs or devices. In addition to this, clinical research provides scientific knowledge for treating patients. Every novel drug, device, and its safety/effectiveness after being marketed is usually tested in volunteering participants. It is vital to protect these participants from any unreasonable risk.

To understand if clinical research is safe and ethical, we conducted a survey among doctors on the WhiteCoats app.

115 doctors from various specialities responded to our survey. Which included anaesthesiologist (34.78%), paediatrician (13.91%), dentist (10.43%), surgeon (6.9%), general practitioner (6%), physiotherapist (4.3%), gynaecologist (3.4%), ayurvedic doctor (2.6%), radiologist (2.6%), audiologist (1.7%), homeopathic (1.7%), internist (1.7%) and others (9.5%).

92% of doctors think that academic research is relatively more ethical, while only 8 % of doctors think industry-sponsored trials are ethical.

Around 83% of doctors agreed that patient safety is highly monitored in academic research while only 17% think industry-sponsored trials monitored patient safety.

52% of physicians reported that those participating in industry-sponsored trials are usually deprived of standard treatment options.

It is a regulatory requirement that researchers should give complete and relevant information regarding the trials to the participants and obtain informed consent from them. The survey reported that 66% of academic research and only 34% of industry-sponsored trials obtained adequate informed consent from the study participants.

51% of physicians stated that academic research reimbursed patients with trial-related injury compensations, whereas 49% of patients received trial-related injury reimbursement in industry-sponsored trials.

Whether academic or industry-sponsored, every study should ensure that it is ethical and its participants are greatly monitored for safety and effectiveness.

Physicians play a key role in clinical research. Protection of participants and assuring ideal treatment for research-related harmful outcomes should be a priority in every research study.

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