High rate of awarding compensation for claims of injuries related to clinical trials by pharmaceutical companies in Japan: A questionnaire survey

Chieko Kurihara, Hideo Kusuoka, Shunsuke Ono, Naoko Kakee, Kazuyuki Saito, Kenji Takehara, Kiyokazu Tsujide, Yuzo Nabeoka, Takuya Sakuhiro, Hiroshi Aoki, Noriko Morishita, Chieko Suzuki, Shigeo Kachi, Emiko Kondo, Yukiko Komori, Tetsu Isobe, Shigeru Kageyama, Hiroshi Watanabe

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Introduction: International norms and ethical standards have suggested that compensation for research-related injury should be provided to injured research volunteers. However, statistical data of incidence of compensation claims and the rate of awarding them have been rarely reported. Method: Questionnaire surveys were sent to pharmaceutical companies and medical institutions, focusing on industry-initiated clinical trials aiming at new drug applications (NDAs) on patient volunteers in Japan. Results: With the answers from pharmaceutical companies, the incidence of compensation was 0.8%, including 0.06% of monetary compensation. Of the cases of compensation claims, 99% were awarded. In turn, with the answers from medical institutions, the incidence of compensation was 0.6%, including 0.4% of serious but not death cases, and 0.04% of death cases. Furthermore, most claims for compensation were initiated by medical institutions, rather than by the patients. On the other hand, with the answers from clinical trial volunteers, 3% of respondents received compensations. These compensated cases were 25% of the injuries which cannot be ruled out from the scope of compensation. Conclusion: Our study results demonstrated that Japanese pharmaceutical companies have provided a high rate of compensation for clinical trial-related injuries despite the possibility of overestimation. In the era of global clinical development, our study indicates the importance of further surveys to find each country's compensation policy by determining how it is being implemented based on a survey of the actual status of compensation coming from statistical data.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere84998
JournalPLoS One
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jan 8


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Kurihara, C., Kusuoka, H., Ono, S., Kakee, N., Saito, K., Takehara, K., Tsujide, K., Nabeoka, Y., Sakuhiro, T., Aoki, H., Morishita, N., Suzuki, C., Kachi, S., Kondo, E., Komori, Y., Isobe, T., Kageyama, S., & Watanabe, H. (2014). High rate of awarding compensation for claims of injuries related to clinical trials by pharmaceutical companies in Japan: A questionnaire survey. PLoS One, 9(1), [e84998]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0084998