The right questions to ask about clinical trial compensation

There are many factors one should consider before deciding to enroll in a clinical trial. Though every clinical trial is designed to help researchers advance their knowledge about a specific condition, the details regarding a study’s duration, risks, benefits, and required time commitment can vary. When determining how to participate in clinical trials, these elements are all good things to discuss with the research team to determine if a study is a good fit.

Another important variable of a clinical trial’s structure is the compensation it offers. Some research studies might offer reimbursement for expenses incurred, while others will actually pay participants for taking part — but it is important to understand all of the details before enrolling. Below, we have some questions for potential participants to ask to make sure a paid clinical trial they’re considering will be a good fit.

What phase is the trial in?

Clinical trials take place in several phases that are designed to answer different questions. Understanding which phase the clinical trial is in can give you insight into the treatment being studied, which will also impact the reimbursement structure for participants. Clinical trials range in phases from one to four, and while in earlier phases, study treatments that are less well understood, they are the most likely to be compensated.

How is compensation prorated?

Under Food and Drug Administration guidelines, compensation for research participation should be just, fair, and not contingent upon the subject completing the entire study. Therefore, payments for clinical trial participation are typically prorated — because trial participants are free to leave the study at any time, this ensures that they are getting paid fairly for the time they spent enrolled in the study, even if they decide to leave.

Are participants paid for time or reimbursed for expenses?

There are several different ways that clinical trial sponsors may choose to compensate their participants in paid clinical trials. Some will pay participants for the time in the study, while others will reimburse for and expenses, and may also provide bonuses or incentive payments once certain milestones are reached. It is wise to inquire about how compensation is structured so you understand if you will be paid for your time, or reimbursed only for the expenses or travel costs you incur.

How will I be paid?

Clinical trials do not all use the same payment methods, so it is a good idea for participants to ensure they know what to expect. Some may offer a check or direct deposit payment, while others may load compensation onto a cash card or store gift card for participants. Asking how you will be paid ahead of time can reduce confusion and help you know what to expect throughout the study.

Medical research can only move forward when participants sign up for research studies. If you’re interested in learning about how to join a clinical trial that’s a good match for you, use the button below to start your search.