A HERSTON-BASED contract research company has denied an association with clinical trial consultancy Rewards for Research, following controversy surrounding alleged financial incentives for volunteers.
The Sunday Telegraph reported that Rewards for Research advertises on Facebook to attract young people as human guinea pigs, listing Q-Pharm as a client.
Under the National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) ethical conduct rules, payments to volunteers should not be disproportionate to time involved or encourage participants to take risks.
It is alleged that the South Brisbane-based Rewards for Research had advertised for clinical trials worth up to $2000 for participants in some cases.
But Q-Pharm CEO Terry Hurst told brisbanebusinessnews.com.au that the consultancy was only a client for one trial between 2006 and 2007 and that his company had since severed ties with the organisation.
“They are not a client of ours and they’re not a company we’ve chosen to be associated with,” says Hurst.
“Volunteers, particularly in early phase trials, are reimbursed for their out-of-pocket expenses, as well as for their time and inconvenience. Reimbursements are generally less than the minimum wage.”
Hurst declined to comment on Q-Pharm’s current volunteer recruitment policies, but affirms they are ‘ethically approved’ and follow NHMRC guidelines.
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