Every year, thousands of Americans, (and people from all over the world) take part in different medical research studies.
For many the main reason for becoming a human guinea pig is the chance to earn some extra cash. Yes, you can indeed make money by participating in clinical trials.
Of course, there are other reasons as well, like helping to advance our knowledge and understanding of human body which not only helps us develop better ways of fighting disease and sickness, it will also open the doors for further discoveries for future generations.
Participating in these studies can be as simple as what online paid surveys sites have you do – answering a few questions, or as risky as taking a new drug that may harm you a few years down the road.
Generally speaking, these studies are safe. But you should always keep the risks involved in mind.
If you are interested in earning some extra cash as a human guinea pig, here is what you need to know:
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What will I learn?
How to Find a Study?
There are a few different ways to find paid clinical studies you can participate in. Here are a few:
You can find a global list of both federally funded and privately financed clinical trials on the Clinical Trials website.
According to this government-sponsored site, the list contains about 103,000 clinical trials around the world. There is a lot of useful information on this NIH-run site, like detailed breakdowns of clinical procedures, safety regulations, sponsorship disclosure, oversight boards, as well as other useful pieces of information.
Since the level of detail on the Clinical Trials website can be overwhelming at first, try the Guinea Pigs Get Paid and BioTrax websites.
This is a user-friendly site, which has additional opportunities listed that are not available on Clinical Trials, such as mystery shopping and openings for film extras, but do be careful of dead links.
With BioTrax, which is the UK version of ClinicalTrials.GOV, you can test your eligibility for trials and receive updates when clinical studies are open.
4. Contact Local Universities
You can also get in touch with your local universities and medical research centers.
Let them know you are interested in participating, so they will send you an invitation whenever there is a new study.
5. Local Newspapers & Classified
Sometimes, universities put ads in local newspapers and even on Craigslist looking for participants.
That is how I came across the quit smoking medical trial last year.
Risks and Rewards Involved
When you have decided on a study that interests you, do some research so that you know what you will be getting into. Here’s some information on the more common procedures and associated pay rates:
- Medical Surveys – Total Payout: $15 per form
You earn $15 for completing an online questionnaire, which generally forms part of a cognitive performance study, which is non-invasive.
It doesn’t pay much but you have covered the cost of a case of cheap beer, and helped medical research at the same time.
- Sleep Studies – Total Payout: $175 – $200 per night
Earn while you sleep, that is $175 for one night and a whopping $3000 for a 14 day study.
While this does involve a pretty substantial time commitment and cognitive tests that can be slightly invasive, it is a fantastic way to earn heaps of cash and even find out why you have difficulty sleeping.
- Donating Plasma – Total Payout: $20 – $30 per donation
If you have between one and a half hours and three hours to spare, and can handle lots of needles, while not technically a procedure of clinical trials, plasma donations can earn you around $20 – $30 per visit.
You can make plasma donations twice a week, and you get to munch on some free cookies once you’re done.
- MRI – Total Payout: $125 per MRI and screener
You can get around $50 for a typical MRI, and $75 if you complete the additional screening and interview, which takes one day. The MRI procedure is fast, painless and not particularly invasive.
The only suffering you will have to endure is waiting around in an office for the better part of a day.
- PET – Total Payout: $675 per PET scan and screener
You can earn around $600 for doing a PET scan, a type of nuclear imaging. You get paid an additional $75 for a day-long screening and interview, which is a component of all PET scans.
The high pay rate with PET scans comes at a personal cost though. Prior to having the procedure done, you will have to ingest or get injected with a radiotracer, and then wait an hour while the radiotracer is absorbed.
Do your research into what the study involves, since some scans will also include a catheter. While you can earn good money doing PET scans, studies that involve them are not easy to find.
How & When Do I Get Paid?
You can expect to get paid on the last day of the study with the majority of large clinics, and if not within two weeks at the latest.
Be mindful that in some studies you will not get paid a dime if you don’t finish the study, so do read the conditions thoroughly.
While you won’t have any legal restrictions on how many medical trials you can participate in, and there are people out there who make their living by subjecting themselves to medical experiments, it is always best to do things in moderation.
You will be earning while helping science and you never know, you could even end up being a part of a study that finds a miracle cure!