I am a coward. Wait. Perhaps I should provide some context in reference to my cowardly act. Recently, I found myself in need of money. I needed like $1,700 quickly. Like most people, I have a mortgage, various insurance payments, food bills, car expenses, and so on. It’s amazing how you can get paid, pay a few bills, and then the money you just earned disappears, and before you know it, you’re thinking about becoming a medical guinea pig.
What Exactly is a Medical Guinea Pig?
I began thinking about taking part in medical research studies. Like becoming a guinea pig for a clinical study to make money. Many products and pharmaceutical products are tested on animals first and never make it to the FDA human testing trials phase. Medical testing programs are usually conducted and financially sponsored by companies that want to release the product.
I saw an ad for a sleep-based research study that was looking for ways to combat sleep apnea. That was not a problem for me. I did it and made $200 in a week. I had to sleep in a laboratory in a university, but it was easy money. Next, I applied to take part in a drug research study. The gig was studying the side effects of a new medication.
The Greater the Pay, The Greater the Risk
It was offering over $3,500 for a one-month study. I would have to spend a month shuttling back and forth and staying overnight in the lab. The side effects were unknown. That is the reason for the research study. I chickened out. Simplistic studies pay, but not a lot. When a research study is offering to pay you hundreds of dollars a day, you have to accept the risks that come with it.
So, if you have ever thought about joining a research study as a guinea pig, here’s what you need to know. You can make money, but it’s not as easy as you think.
How much you earn depends on the type of study that you participate in. For psychological studies, where you don’t have to take any medicine or suffer needle piercing, the pay ranges from tens of dollars to a hundred dollars a day. You may fill out questionnaires or answer questions about addictive, mentally abnormal, or non-healthy mental conditions.
The more medically invasive research studies may pay $250-a-day, thousands of dollars or tens of thousands of dollars. Injections or consumption of experimental medications are involved. You will have to stay in a hospital or academic facility so researchers can document results. This could be a period of weeks or months. Depending on the contract, you may have to stay for the full duration of the study, or you won’t get paid a cent.
You will have to pass a medical screening process to get in. For instance, researchers may ask you if ever you have ever smoked a cigarette, even once. A, “yes,” could get you disqualified. Researchers usually want people in good health, who exercise, eat well, and who have never experienced a major illness in life.
Side effects are usually unknown since such research experiments usually test new drugs and medical procedures on human subjects. It’s basically your job in such a study to manifest potential side-effect for the researchers to catalog in their studies. One test subject in a French research trial for a new painkiller died in 2016. I don’t tell you this to scare you off. It’s just so that you understand the risks involved.
If you are still interested, you can look up human guinea pig research opportunities on websites like Just Another Lab Rat.