An audit of questions asked by participants during the informed consent process for regulatory studies at a tertiary referral centre – An analysis of consent narratives

An audit of questions asked by participants during the informed consent process for regulatory studies at a tertiary referral centre – An analysis of consent narratives
Research Article
Unnati Saxena, Debdipta Bose, Mitesh Kumar Maurya, Nithya Jaideep Gogtay, Urmila Mukund Thatte
Clinical Ethics, 20 September 2020
Abstract
Objective
To evaluate the questions asked during the informed consent process by adult and adolescent participants as well as their parents in five interventional regulatory studies conducted at our center from 2018 to 2019.
Methods
The study protocol was approved by Institutional Ethics Committee [EC/OA-116/2019]. Consent narratives in the source documents for the studies were evaluated. Questions asked were classified as per Indian Council of Medical Research’s (ICMR) guidelines (2017). We evaluated total number of questions, nature of questions and whether there was an association between education, gender, phase of trials, physician taking consent and number questions being asked.
Results
A total of five studies that had N = 297 consent narratives were evaluated. Narratives of n = 284 adult participants/Guardians and of n = 13 children were analysed. A total of 374 questions were asked of which children asked only 10 questions. A total of 131/284 (40%) of the participants did not ask any question. Among the participants who asked questions, the majority132/171 (77%) participants asked about risks related to investigational products followed by questions related to study procedures 83/171 (49%). Participants/guardians with higher education (relative to those who were educated upto the secondary school and primary school) and those who consented for Phase III studies (relative to Phase I studies) asked significantly more questions (p < 0.0001).
Conclusion
A majority of the queries were related to the risks associated with the investigational products. Educational status and the Phase of the trial were found to be significantly associated with the number of questions being asked.

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