Losing a leg for science – while noble – isn’t really…. advisable. In the midst of a global pandemic and plenty of buzz around vaccines as of late, the question of the safety and merit of clinical trials is definitely a relevant one.
Every LEGAL drug that you can think of (whether you can say it or not is a different question) has been through clinical trials to ensure its’ safety and efficacy for the mass market. People who volunteer for this type of research make a huge impact on the world of medicine.
There are plenty of clinical trial opportunities available – from college campuses to sketchy-ish Craigslist postings. In this article, we’ll review the ins and outs of clinical trials, and if they are worth pursuing as a side-gig.
What Are Clinical Trials?
A clinical trial is a research study used to test the safety and effectiveness of a new investigational medication, medical treatment, devise or new way of using known treatments in human volunteers. There are typically four phases in the process of testing, which indicate how ready a trial is for public use.
There are also different types of clinical trials. Some may be more appealing/relevant to you depending on your health status and situation.
A few of the most common types are:
- Prevention Trials: most commonly completed with healthy individuals, explores treatment options to prevent contraction of a disease, illness or condition (vaccines, for example)
- Treatment Trials: most commonly thought of when referencing drug studies/clinical trials – tests new drugs or treatments for a specific or general population
- Behavioral Trials: evaluate behavioral changes with treatment to promote well-being
Are Clinical Trials Safe?
As referenced above, clinical trials have four phases. Each phase decreases in risk but increases in rigorousness. Phase 1 is the most experimental phase.
However, it’s important to note that before human clinical trials, the proposal went through a number of steps and regulations to protect against potentially reckless and harmful practices.
Benefits of Clinical Trials
- Pay averages 1k with many opportunities way above that.
- Free/low-cost treatment
- Satisfaction of helping a good cause
Cons of Clinical Trials
- Lengthy screening process
- Potential side effects
- Investment of time, money, energy
Top 5 Sites to Find Clinical Trials
Other Options to Find Studies
I know we took a slight dig at Craigslist earlier, but the platform can be a great option for clinical trials IF you know how and where to look! We know a few people who have had great success. Check out our article for an idea of how to vet studies on Craigslist.
Local universities are also a great place to find studies! Studies done on campus or that are campus-affiliated are typically less risky because they are done purely for research and/or class assignments, rather than actual drug testing.
If you don’t have luck with any of the above options, Reddit and Google are amazing tools. Search phrases that typically have good results are ‘clinical trials near me’ or ‘drug studies in [your city]’. The subreddits r/beermoney and r/clinical trials are great goldmines for active studies, with a good dose of tips and advice as well!
Tips for Safety
Deciding on whether or not to participate in clinical trials is very personal. The decision weighs several factors: your health, income level, risk tolerance, moral/ethical code, and more!
We recommend going for studies that are low-risk, high-reward, especially if this is your first foray onto the scene. Sleep studies are a good example of this.
At the risk of sounding like a Humira commercial disclaimer, always consult with your doctor before you take on a clinical trial. Your doctor may have insights on current/experimental treatments, and the upside/downsides with your specific case. Also, it never hurts to get a second opinion.
Each country has different regulations, laws, and standard procedures for clinical trials. It is very important that you understand your specific country’s precautions and legislation so you are protected and fully aware of your rights.
No matter your country, this article highlighted some key safety measures and considerations for you to further dive into if you want to pursue clinical trials.
Questions to Consider
Here are some questions that you should ask your doctor, yourself, or the researcher before committing to a clinical trial. Most of these questions should be readily available on the conductor’s website, or a quick phone call.
- What stage is the study in (Phase 1-4)?
- What are the risks of participating in the study? What are the benefits (compensation and other)?
- Am I expected to pay out of pocket for any related expenses (travel, treatment, medicine, etc)?
- What is the purpose/expected outcome of the study?
- How long is the commitment?
- Who is funding or sponsoring this study?
- Who is the point person of contact?
Clinical trials are definitely worth it as far as money goes. These studies are one of the highest paying study types in the market research industry. However, that compensation may be justified for the potential risk you take on.
Of course, it’s not all scary- many people with serious conditions or illness get treatment that they never would have received otherwise. But the other side is you being afflicted with something undesirable. That’s why informed consent is SO important.
Clinical trials can be a lucrative side gig. Without human trials, we’d never see any innovative drugs introduced. But – it’s not a decision to be made lightly, even (or perhaps, especially) if you are healthy.
We are all about staying informed and exploring options, let us know your thoughts and experiences with clinical trials in the comments below!
If it’s not really sounding like your forte, there are plenty of less risky options you can pursue. Stan’s Gigs is a place where you can explore all gigs related to market research. Check out this article on paid online surveys – arguably THE safest (and quickest!) option for studies.
And don’t forget to check out the blog! We have many more exciting articles on the way. If you have a suggestion, pop it down below!