1. Why should I participate in a clinical trial? There are many reasons to volunteer in a study. Participants contribute to future healthcare of tomorrow. They also gain invaluable empowerment about their own health. Medical studies also allow access to medications and other treatment options not available through any other means. Clinical trials also represent the cutting edge of medical science, being conducted by the world's most innovative minds.
2. Isn't participating in research risky? Yes. There are no guarantees. Ever. Zero guarantees. Those simply don't exist. However, it is very important to put things into clear perspective. Risks bombard us daily. Risks of all lurk around every corner.. Everything we consume— from food to vitamins to medications already on the market— has side effects. Nobody can predict with any certainty what will happen if you participate in a clinical trial. After all, it is "research." The best anybody can do is to gather as much information as possible about what IS known. Researchers are obligated by law to disclose that. Risk can only be mitigated by your own empowerment and the transparency of those in charge of the study. You're entitled to ask as many questions as you want along the way.
3. Aren't clinical trials only for terminal illnesses and people who have run out of other options? No. Not by a long shot. There are thousands of studies taking place RIGHT NOW that need to enroll participants who have acne or migraines, who want to quit smoking, who have trouble sleeping, and who are looking for alternatives to cosmetic procedures— just to name only a fraction of the clinical research studies taking place constantly. Not to mention all of the healthy volunteers needed routinely who can provide a basis for research comparison!
4. Will I be compensated for participating? Yes. In the vast majority of cases, volunteers receive financial compensation "for time and travel." The amount is meant to reflect the inconveniences related to your showing up for visits and undergoing the process and procedures of the study, all of which is tailored and detailed on a study-by-study basis. The amount you will be compensated is set and disclosed to you in advance. If you complete the study and complied (cooperated) with the expectations as discussed during the consenting process, you will be entitled to the study's full compensation. Antidote.me has more to say on the topic.
5. Don't I need health insurance to participate in a study? Nope. Study volunteers DO NOT need health insurance in order to participate (at least MOST of them do not), and insurance policies are not affected by your participation. Insurance carriers are not notified of your participation, nor are your employers. Neither of them will know unless YOU tell them. You're protected by healthcare privacy laws (heard of HIPAA?).
6. Will I have any expenses related to my participation? No. Legitimate studies will never ask participants to pay for anything. NOTHING. In addition, studies are doing more to ensure that clinical trial volunteers never have out-of-pocket expenses related to their participation, study procedures, doctor visits, or study medications. Participating in clinical studies should never require volunteers to pay for anything.
7. Do studies provide free parking for my visits? They should! If it's not brought up, feel free to bring it up yourself. Ask them. Studies are always looking for ways to make participation easier!
Got any additional questions not covered here? Send us a note and we'll be glad to get an answer to you!