“Most IRB rules don’t ban finder’s fees for clinical trials”

“The American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians and others have declared unethical the practice of paying doctors “finder’s fees” for recruiting patients as clinical research subjects. But only half of institutional review boards address in writing the conflict of interest these kinds of payment incentives pose, according to a survey of IRB policies at 117 medical schools that received National Institutes of Health research funding.

About a quarter of the IRB policies prohibit investigators from offering finder’s fees to doctors or other health professionals, said the study in the January-February IRB: Ethics & Human Research, a journal published by the Garrison, N.Y.-based Hastings Center. Payments can range from $2,000 to $10,000 per patient enrolled in a clinical trial, according to published reports.”

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