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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 61  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 257-263

An audit of consent refusals in clinical research at a tertiary care center in India

Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Seth GS Medical College, King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
U M Thatte
Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Seth GS Medical College, King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0022-3859.166515

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Background and Rationale: Ensuring research participants' autonomy is one of the core ethical obligations of researchers. This fundamental principle confers on every participant the right to refuse to take part in clinical research, and the measure of the number of consent refusals could be an important metric to evaluate the quality of the informed consent process. This audit examined consent refusals among Indian participants in clinical studies done at our center. Materials and Methods: The number of consent refusals and their reasons in 10 studies done at our center over a 5-year period were assessed. The studies were classified by the authors according to the type of participant (healthy vs patients), type of sponsor (investigator-initiated vs pharmaceutical industry), type of study (observational vs interventional), level of risk [based on the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) "Ethical Guidelines for Biomedical Research on Human Participants"], available knowledge of the intervention being studied, and each patient's disease condition. Results: The overall consent refusal rate was 21%. This rate was higher among patient participants [23.8% vs. healthy people (14.9%); P = 0.002], in interventional studies [33.6% vs observational studies (7.5%); P < 0.0001], in pharmaceutical industry-sponsored studies [34.7% vs investigator-initiated studies (7.2%); P < 0.0001], and in studies with greater risk (P < 0.0001). The most common reasons for consent refusals were multiple blood collections (28%), inability to comply with the study protocol (20%), and the risks involved (20%). Conclusion: Our audit suggests the adequacy and reasonable quality of the informed consent process using consent refusals as a metric.


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Online since 12th February '04
2004 - Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
Official Publication of the Staff Society of the Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, India
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow