Clinical trials are an essential step in the research and manufacturing process of medicine and other products for human consumption. This step ensures that technological products for human consumption undergo rigorous testing before being released into the market. However, this step requires human participants.
Participants of clinical trials are compensated in monetary and non-monetary forms. The amount of compensation, however, is related to the length of participation time and the phase of the trial.
Clinical trials aim to test the effectiveness of a product, its viability, and potential side effects. It is usually done for products that are designed for human consumption, especially those designed for curing a disease, relieving symptoms, or improving recreational healthcare.
Some of the most reliable research institutions that conduct research and clinical trials are educational institutions, research centers, teaching hospitals, government and non-government institutions, and foundations. These institutions usually follow the standards for performing clinical trials in various phases.
Phase I is often the risky part of the clinical trials because the respondents of this phase are the first to take the invented product. Phase IV, moreover, aims to test the product across a wide population sample size to determine its viability for consumption for the general public.
Clinical trials may also involve other fields like psychology and neuroscience. Some studies involve having a deeper understanding of sleep and what happens to the brain during sleep and what can potentially hinder it. In these types of studies, the researcher can attach machines to the body to monitor brain activity and heart rate. They can also control factors that can affect sleep like temperature, light, and noise.
Applying for participation in a clinical trial can involve various processes. Usually, applicants are required to submit to a full medical evaluation to assess the viability of the body for testing. Other trials, especially for medical research, may involve people with certain conditions. During these trials, the participants are unaware of whether they are taking the actual drug or a placebo. This “blinding” helps in maintaining the quality of the results of the research.
While most tests are according to the regulations of the concerned national and international institutions, clinical trials can still have potential risks of possible side effects. It is not always safe so people who participate in these studies must be fully confident to prevent waste of money and resources for the company
Participants are required to sign an informed consent form detailing the scope and purpose of the study. It indicates in this form that participants are free to withdraw from the study at any time.
Risks and Benefits of Clinical Trials for Participants
These clinical trials can last for months. People who choose to participate in these trials must know the associated conditions and responsibilities. Some perform the trials for helping the scientific community while some aim to improve their existing condition. Some are also interested in being a crucial part of the scientific and medical breakthrough.
Participating in clinical trials can help people who are living with a particular medical condition or illness. They might even become the first to access the new way of treatment or experience treatment in the new facility. However, they must evaluate whether the potential reward for their participation is worth the responsibilities of being a participant in the trials.
For paid clinical trials, the researcher can ask the participant to track their condition and report to the site regularly for testing. Traveling to and from the site for regular check-ups can become burdensome.
Types and Amounts of Compensation
Some clinical trials offer compensation for participants as a sign of appreciation and reward for undertaking the risk for the improvement of technology. Research organizations offer this payment to compensate for the time and effort of the participant in the duration of the study.
Students are often willing participants of clinical trials, especially during phase 1 of the trials. Usually, phase 1 of the clinical trials involves healthy and young individuals who can monitor their condition and report any potential side effects of the product. Depending on the research, participants can only participate in one clinical trial every one to three months.
High-paying studies involve testing medicines, medical devices, and vaccines. Low-paying studies, moreover, include specimen collection, particularly saliva, nasal swab, and blood. Studies that only conduct interviews are also often low-paying,
Compensation, however, may be both monetary and non-monetary. Research organizations and their sponsors can provide gift cheques, travel allowances, meal vouchers, and stipends to the participants of the clinical trials. Some may also only compensate by reimbursing travel costs.
Compensation in clinical trials is often related to the length of the study rather than its complexity. Usually, this can be measured by the number of overnight and outpatient visits of the participant. It is also related to the phase of the trial. Phase I pays significantly higher compared with phase IV of the study. Usually, these details are disclosed to the applicant on the first visit to the research site.
Clinical trials with high compensation are more attractive to potential participants. They can offer compensation in staggered amounts to lower the dropout rate of participants. Aside from reasonable compensation, research organizations need to provide this compensation on time to motivate participants.
Currently, the highest compensation offer for clinical trials across the world is related to medicines for curing gastrointestinal, blood, endocrine, neurological, and cardiovascular diseases. Other countries like Japan or the Philippines may also have their respective niche of clinical research trials.
Clinical trials provide safeguards for new technological inventions, especially in the medical and pharmaceutical fields. Compensations are appropriate for participants of clinical trials because of the associated risks, particularly in the first phase of the trials. Depending on the type of study, research organizations give commensurate compensation for the length of time that participants engage in the trials.