HEC Forum 27 (2):171-187 (2015)

Over the past 20 years, clinical research has migrated from academic medical centers to community-based settings, including rural settings. This evolving research environment may present some moral hazards or challenges that could undermine traditionally accepted standards for the protection of human subjects. The study described in this article was designed to explore the influence of motives driving the decisions to conduct clinical trial research in rural community settings. The researchers conducted semi-structured interviews with 80 participants who conducted clinical trials with rural subjects. The interviews provided a way to examine the influence of budgetary factors when deciding to conduct a clinical study, how information about the budget and the purpose of the study is conveyed to research participants, and the potential willingness of clinicians and coordinators to enroll in the kinds of studies they offer. The findings suggest that clinical trial research in rural communities may challenge clinicians’ abilities to balance the needs of the patient with the needs of the research enterprise. Few respondents seemed to recognize the traditionally recognized hazards of a dual relationship, specifically the moral risks of trying to attend to the interests of both patient and industry. It seems important to re-examine how we protect human subjects and what such protection should look like as research becomes part of the way medical care is provided, even in very rural areas
Keywords Clinical trials  Research ethics  Rural healthcare providers  Human subject protection  Qualitative research
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DOI 10.1007/s10730-015-9270-z
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