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BMJ. Jul 24, 2004; 329(7459): 232–233.
PMCID: PMC487782

Responsibility for ancillary care in clinical trials

Finding out what participants think may be way forward
Ike Anya, specialist registrar in public health medicine

Editor—Belsky and Richardson highlight an important issue of ancillary care in the conduct of research trials and propose a potentially useful framework for dealing with the ethical problems raised.1 What seems to be missing, however, is an exploration of the issue from the participants' perspective. It may be clear to the researcher that entrustment is partial. Participants may, however, believe (rightly or wrongly) that by agreeing to participate, they are fully entrusting the researcher with responsibility for their wellbeing.

A need may therefore arise to delineate the limits of entrustment clearly in the process of obtaining consent. Whether this is practical or feasible is uncertain, but it would be useful and interesting to know what participants think they are entrusting to researchers when they agree to participate in a trial.

Notes

Competing interests: None declared.

References

1. Belsky L, Richardson HS. Medical researchers' ancillary clinical care responsibilities. BMJ 2004;328: 1494-6. (19 June.) [PMC free article] [PubMed]

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