We have all heard, read, or seen the ads: you will be paid for your participation in a clinical trial. It sounds good, but you should always be aware of what “paid clinical trials” or “paid research trials” actually means.
A clinical trial, research trial, or clinical study, is a program designed by a pharmaceutical or device company to research their medication or device for its safety and effectiveness in humans. Many of these programs offer individuals payment in exchange for their time, travel, and adherence to the guidelines for each specific trial.
Paid Clinical Trials—What is in the Fine Print
What is commonly not mentioned in these “clinical trials for money” ads is the extent of the commitment involved, or the fact that your insurance company could be billed for the service. These details all depend on the trial.
For example, a company looking to gather data on their newly FDA-approved device will typically charge your insurance company for the device and/or procedure. They may then provide follow-up visits at no cost to your insurance company, and include a “patient stipend,” a payment to the individual who is participating in the clinical trial. In this example, in exchange for a stipend of, say, $500, the participant may be required to attend 20 follow-up appointments, and they may also be required to alter their lifestyle for the duration of the study. Of course, 20 follow-up appointments means your health is being monitored very closely, much more than typical health insurance could provide!
Physicians Research Group Offers Transparency in Paid Clinical Trials