Clinical trials still represent the gold standard in testing the safety and efficacy of new and existing treatments. However, developing regions including sub-Saharan Africa remain underrepresented in pharmaceutical industry sponsored trials for a number of reasons including fear of corruption and unethical behaviour. This fear exists both on the part of pharmaceutical companies, and investigators carrying out research in the region. The objective of this research was to understand the ethical considerations associated with the conduct of pharmaceutical industry sponsored clinical trials in sub-Saharan Africa. Corruption was identified as a significant issue by a number of stakeholders who participated in semi-structured interviews and completed questionnaires. Additionally, fear of being perceived as corrupt or unethical even when conducting ethically sound research was raised as a concern. Thus corruption, whether actual or perceived, is one of a number of issues which have precluded the placement of a greater number of pharmaceutical sponsored clinical trials in this region. More discussion around corruption with all relevant stakeholders is required in order for progress to be made and to enable greater involvement of sub-Saharan African countries in the conduct of industry sponsored clinical trials.
Egharevba, E., & Atkinson, J. (2016). The role of corruption and unethical behaviour in precluding the placement of industry sponsored clinical trials in sub-Saharan Africa: Stakeholder views. Contemporary Clinical Trials Communications, 3, 102–110. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.conctc.2016.04.009