If you’ve heard that participating in medical trials for money can be an income booster – or debt destroyer, depending on your circumstances – you heard right.
So, what’s it all about?
Every drug that is created by pharmaceutical companies must, by law, be tested for two things: 1, it’s effective for the condition for which it’s intended and 2, its safety.
The process is long and expensive and part of it is testing the drug on healthy participants.
Why is this necessary?
Take a drug that is meant to treat asthma. The drug company who created it wants to know if it has any adverse effects on the heart, so a trial will be conducted with healthy participants – people who don’t suffer from Asthma – to see if there are any side effects. This is called a Cardio Safety Trial. The same trial might be conducted to determine the effects on the Liver, the Kidney’s and so on.
Trials that require healthy participants usually pay you for your time and sites like GSK clinical trials UK will pay £2000 per trial for up to four trials a year. This is a fairly easy way to make money while studying that doesn’t take up a great deal of time.
Signing up is fairly straight forward. Register your interest with the site [http://volunteers.gsk.co.uk/Trial.aspx?tId=10] and you’ll be sent an application pack. Fill it out, send it back and then you’ll be asked to take part in a basic health check. They’ll assess you general level of health to determine if it’s safe for you to take part. If you fit the criteria you’ll be accepted on to the Volunteer Panel. From there you’ll be sent a schedule of trials and you choose which ones suit you.
Drug trial protocol is decided by two independent bodies in accordance with EU legislation. The clinic running the trial also has to have insurance; much like the Employers Liability Insurance you see offices, restaurants and bars around the country. This should be displayed. If it isn’t, you should reconsider signing the consent form.
Prior to starting the trial the doctors conducting the protocols have to inform all participants of what they are testing, how, why and what risks may be involved. At this point if you want to continue you must give your consent.
Now you pack a good book, or some uni work and make your way to the clinic for the first day of the trial.
What if I want to leave?
You have not surrendered any rights and you can leave at any time if you decide this isn’t for you. However, some companies only pay participants of they complete the trial, so bear in mind that if you leave before the end of the last day, you might not be paid.
Are there risks?
Unexpected side-effects can occur; however, given that you are in a clinic full of medical staff, your symptoms will receive close attention. On the other hand, you may be given the drug, or a placebo and feel nothing. Remember that it isn’t in the interests of the drug company to injure the participants of its drug trials.
Research the company you sign up with to ensure they are legitimate – some aren’t and don’t give consent unless you happy with the trial you’re participating in.
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