Serene Queries

Blue Yonder (UK)- Market research enquiry

Nov 08, 2022

Please can I have some advice about a study taking place in the US. Our client has included a comment in their consent form (that can't now be removed) saying that people's health insurance could be affected if they take part in our study - however this is not a clinical study so we are concerned people will not want to take part in the research because of this. Our partners in the US have never seen anything like this and are not sure how to explain it to consumers.

Experts Response

Nov 16, 2022

Dear Rebeca,

Thank you for submitting your query.

You are describing that the health insurance of respondents can be affected as a direct consequence of their participation in the study. You are not saying whether this effect can be harmful or only positive for the respondents. Therefore we have to distinguish two cases:

1. If the effect on the health insurance is negative or can be harmful for the respondent (i.e., an increase in health insurance costs), this directly contradicts the basic principle 3 of the ICC/ESOMAR-Code that states: "Researchers must ... not do anything that might harm a data subject ...".
This would also contradict Article 1 a, which states: "Researchers must ensure that data subjects are not harmed as a direct result of their personal data being used for research."

2. If there are only positive effects for the respondent's health insurance, this would mean that there still is a mix of research and non-research. A consequence of this is that the use of the data for non-research purposes must be transparent before the data collection starts. See Article 6a of the Code: "If researchers plan to collect personal data for research that may also be used for a non-research purpose, this must be made clear to data subjects prior to data collection and their consent for the non-research use obtained." See Article 6 b of the Code: "Researchers must not share a data subject’s personal data with a client unless the data subject has given consent to do so and has agreed to the specific purpose for which it will be used."

We hope this helps.


The Professional Standards Team