Do you get paid to participate in clinical trials?

Not all clinical trials involve payment, and payments can vary considerably for those that do. Some pay thousands of dollars, whilst others may only provide small reimbursements to compensate for things like travel or accommodation expenses.

There are many reasons why people choose to participate in a clinical trial. Sometimes currently approved treatments may not be effective for some people, or there may be limited or no approved treatment choices.   Therefore, clinical trials may offer options to people in these circumstances. Others may choose to get involved because they have a keen interest in helping medical science and contributing to the development of treatments for future generations. For some people, money may be a motivating factor, and sometimes it’s both.

It’s also good to note, whilst some trials might not pay you to participate, you also do not need to pay to participate in a clinical trial.  The care is received at no cost to the participant. 

Pay factors around clinical trials

In most cases, clinical trial participants with the medical condition being tested in a study will not be paid to participate. This is due to ethical considerations. For example, a person’s participation should be determined by the potential benefits of a new treatment and not be determined or incentivised by money. However, participants can sometimes be reimbursed for reasonable expenses such as food, travel, parking and accommodation if these are required.

For healthy volunteers, compensation is available, particularly for Phase I clinical trials. Participants in these studies do not stand to receive any direct benefits to their health from their participation, so it is done to appreciate and recognise their effort and contribution to science.

There aren’t exactly universal rules around how much you will get paid, so if it is a major motivating factor, you are best to clarify all the details with the site running the trial. But several factors will influence payment, such as:

    • How much time you spend there – this can be impacted by pure hours spent, as well as the number of different visits.
    • Length of the study – sometimes clinical trials take months or even years, and there can be extra payments for downtime spent between sessions.
    • The nature of the study – be it the condition being researched or even how the new treatments are to be applied.
    • Phone or online appointments – these can add up over the course of a trial.
    • The level of burden – this can relate to time spent, the toll taken on the body and other risk factors.
    • Which phase it is – this is an important factor because the earlier the phase of the study, typically the more the risk. This is because usually less is known about the treatment in the early stages of a clinical trial. There is also likely to be a longer process to go through if you take part in the earlier phases of a trial.

It is always important to consider all factors. Yes, money is handy, but there may be potential side effects when participating in clinical trials. It’s important to have a thorough discussion with your treating healthcare professional and those conducting the clinical trial, so you can make an informed decision about participating. 

Which clinical trial pays the most?

The type of trial can influence payments for clinical trials. As previously mentioned, Phase 1 trials offer remuneration for healthy volunteers but not if you’re a patient with a medical condition. But the payment is rarely uniform across clinical trial facilities. Instead, it’s affected by factors like those listed above.

Check with the facility if you’re keen to know how much you can get paid for participating. Phase 1 facilities (listed below) usually publish the remuneration you can get–whether the exact or estimated amount. 

Where to find paid clinical trials

There are a number of different resources online where you can find clinical trials to participate in. Whilst not all of them directly display if or how much you’ll get paid to participate, such enquiries are usually easy to make when contacting the relevant organisation. Here are some of the best places to find clinical trials online:

  • Phase 1 Facilities:
    • Nucleus Network provides several options in both Melbourne and Brisbane.
    • Linear run clinical trials in Perth. 
    • CMAX is located in Adelaide. It’s one of Australia’s primary Phase 1 facilities along with Nucleus Network and Linear. 
  •  All Trials (paid and unpaid):
    • is a US-run website that lists clinical trials happening worldwide that are in the process of recruiting. Presently there are hundreds of Australian clinical trials on this site that are looking for recruits.
    • Australian Government website has information on current clinical trials, as well as how to be part of one.

You can find more resources on sourcing paid and unpaid clinical trials on the White Coats Foundation website.

In our previous blogs, we have established what clinical trials are, why they are so important, and the different phases. You can also take a look at our participant stories to understand the experiences of different clinical trial participants.

While White Coats Foundation aims to provide access to reliable information to help guide you in understanding clinical trials, please note that our blogs are only informational. They are not meant to replace your doctor’s medical advice. Should you wish to participate in a clinical trial, please consult with a healthcare professional.

If there is a topic you would like addressed, let us know here!

White Coats Foundation 

White Coats is a Not for Profit Australian-based charity.  The Foundation was established in recognition of the need to raise awareness about the role of clinical trials in advancing medical science and healthcare. We are providing information about clinical trials through our Webinar Series and Our Blogs. We also provide access to credible resources and information to help guide people’s journey in understanding clinical trials and consumer and community involvement in research.

Please note: White Coats blogs are informational only and do not constitute advice. Please contact your relevant healthcare professional for advice on clinical trials for you.

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