Many Patients Wary of Participating in Medical Research, Study Finds
Almost 80% of African Americans and 52% of whites believe they could be used as "guinea pigs" for medical research without their consent, according to a study on patients' trust of the medical establishment published in today's Archives of Internal Medicine (Fackelmann, USA Today, 11/26). For the study, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill researchers surveyed more than 500 blacks and 400 whites nationwide in 1997. The study found the following:
- About 42% of African Americans and 23% of whites said they did not trust their physicians to fully explain medical research participation to them.
- Approximately 15% of African Americans and 8% of whites did not feel they could freely question their doctors.
- More than 37% of African Americans and about 20% of whites believed that their doctor might ask them to participate in a research study even if the research could harm their health.
- More than 45% of African Americans and approximately 35% of whites said they believed their physicians might expose them to unnecessary risks when prescribing treatment.
- Sixty-three percent of African Americans and 38% of whites believed their physicians often prescribed medication as a means to experiment on people without their knowledge or consent.
- Twenty-five percent of African Americans and 8% of whites believed that their doctor had given them an experimental treatment without their consent (UNC release, 11/25).