Take part in clinical trials to earn cash and help advance medical research.
By Kelly Henderson (follow Kelly on Twitter @kellythekiwi)
Taking part in a clinical trial can be a great way of making some extra money but it can also be pretty scary. If this is something you are considering, here are some of the things you need to know.
#1 What kind of clinical trials can I take part in?
There are many different kinds of clinical trials available with varying degrees of involvement. Some require you to stay on site from anywhere between two nights and a month, others will have you stay in for a couple of nights then come back. There are also a few that only consist of day visits.
- Different types of clinical trials include:
- Diet and nutritional studies
- Sleep studies
- Asthma and flu camps
- Drug trials
#2 Who can take part in clinical trials?
Every trial is looking for a different set of volunteers. Some trials require volunteers who suffer from a particular illness – like asthma – so that they can test the effectiveness of a particular drug. You will need to provide medical evidence to take part in these trials.
Other trials require healthy volunteers – you may need to be a non-smoker or have a Body Mass Index that falls within a certain range. Some trials will be only looking for women, others for men. The age range of volunteers is normally quite broad – from 18 – 75 so there is a good chance that you could qualify for one.
You will need to have a good understanding of the English language so that you know exactly what the trial involves and what the researchers are looking for.
#3 What do clinical trials involve?
Once you have applied to take part in a clinical trial you will be called to come in for a screening. This is to determine that you are suitable for the trial, and healthy enough to take part. The screening process could include a blood test, urine sample, checking your weight, blood pressure or an ECG.
After the screening the process depends on what trial you are taking part in. Some of the less invasive trials will only involve filling out questionnaires or completing tasks on a computer. Drug trials are far more invasive – you will be administered the drug that is being tested and then be monitored to see the effects. This will generally include blood tests and blood pressure and/or heart rate monitoring so make sure you don’t sign up if you have a fear of needles!
#4 What are the risks of taking part in a clinical trial?
There is always a risk to taking part in clinical trials – it is important to know them before you sign up. You may have heard of the ‘elephant man’ scandal in 2006. Participants in a clinical trial were left fighting for their lives after a reaction to a drug. It is worth remembering that this got so much attention because reactions like this happen so rarely.
There are side effects that may occur after taking part in a clinical trial – the most common being nausea, fainting and headaches.
Remember that the trials are not just made up for fun. They must meet the regulations established by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and be approved by an ethics committee.
#5 What do I get out of taking part in a clinical trial?
You can potentially earn quite a lot of money taking part in a clinical trial but this varies depending on the trial. The ones that require a long stay or are the most inconvenient and invasive generally pay the best. Some trials will pay you by the day and others on the completion of a full study.
One example of a company that pays well is FluCamp. You can expect to receive between £2000 and £3750 depending on the length of your stay. Accommodation, meals and entertainment (computers, TVs, etc) will be provided for you but there is a chance that you may not get any real contact with other humans.
Aside from financial gains, there is also a feel good factor to taking part in clinical trials. These studies are vital to the advancement of medical research and you will be helping to find treatments for diseases that affect millions of people around the world.
#6 How can I sign up for a clinical trial?
There are a number of companies that do clinical trials. My advice is to research them online first and see what they have on offer.
trials4us.co.uk – one of the UK’s largest research organisations. You can also earn money by donating blood or getting your friends to take part.
FluCamp.com – deals specifically with treatments for the common cold and flu viruses.
londonclinicaltrials.co.uk – currently looking for people to donate blood, those that wear contact lenses and those that suffer from asthma or diabetes.
quintilesclinicaltrials.co.uk – often looking for female volunteers for fertility studies. Trials are comprised of both inpatient and outpatient stays.
londontrials.com – currently looking for asthma sufferers, healthy men and people to donate blood.
If you have a couple of weeks free, don’t feel queasy when you see a needle and can overlook the risks involved, then taking part in a clinical trial could be a great way for you to make some extra money. Don’t forget to research the trial thoroughly and know that you can leave at any stage.
You may also want to check out the top 10 ways to make money online.