COVID-19 vaccine trial participants shouldn’t be lured with money - PH experts

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 19 2020 01:03 PM

MANILA — Clinical trial participants for COVID-19 vaccines will be compensated for the time they spend on the project but won’t be paid excessively, a local vaccine trial expert said on Wednesday.

“Hindi tayo dapat magbigay ng sobra-sobra na magiging undue,” said Dr. Lulu Bravo, executive director of the Philippine Foundation for Vaccination, during a Department of Science and Technology briefing.

(We should not be giving excessive compensation that it would become undue.)

Dr. Jaime Montoya, executive director of the DOST’s Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), said compensation would be an ethical issue.

“Ayaw naming magbibigay, 'yung mga trialist hindi puwedeng magbigay ng malalaking halaga dahil baka 'yung mga tao ay sumasali hindi dahil naiintindihan nila 'yung kung anong makukuha nila sa trial o boluntaryo kundi gagawin nila dahil may bayad at malaki. That’s what we call undue inducement,” Montoya said.

(We don’t want to give, or trialists should not give a large amount because the individual might only join not because he understands the actual benefits of volunteering but because he is being paid a large amount. That’s what we call undue inducement.)

Montoya said the compensation would cover the time spent participating in the trial, especially if the person would have to take a leave at work or won’t be able to do their duties at home.

He said the compensation also usually includes money for food and transportation.

Bravo, who has done clinical trials for vaccines in the Philippines over the last two decades, is optimistic that more people would be volunteering because they understand the importance and benefits of the trials.

She said this is already happening in the United States where more than 350,000 people enlisted for a vaccine’s clinical trials when only 100,000 are needed.

“Anong ibig sabihin nun? Hindi inducement lang. Ang malaking nakikita ng tao ay 'yung maaaring benepisyo. Hindi lang 'yung pera,” she said.

(What does that mean? It’s not just inducement. People are seeing the possible benefits. Not just the money.)

Bravo said the Philippines has not had any problem with clinical trials because Filipinos are good at explaining. She said participants will also benefit from the trial by having a group of experts tending to their health.

Montoya said no one will be forced to participate. And all participants should sign an informed consent form.

“Ang pinakaimportante ay 'yung free, prior informed consent. Ipaliliwanag sa mga lalahok ano ang clinical trial, ano ang produkto, bakit ito binibigay,” he explained.

(The most important is to get their free, prior and informed consent. It will be explained to the participants what the clinical trial is, what the product is and why is it being administered.)

The DOST said clinical trials for various COVID-19 vaccines will most likely start in the 4th quarter of 2020. Meanwhile, the distribution of approved vaccines to the public won’t start until the the 2nd quarter of next year.