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Can I Get Paid for Participating in a Clinical Trial?

“Can I get paid for participating in a research study?” This is the most common question people ask Meridian online when considering signing up for a clinical trial.

The answer is yes, you can get paid for study-related time and travel for participating in most clinical trials. While not all research studies pay participants, most clinical trials at Meridian pay from $75 to $4,500. To get a better idea of what a specific trial might pay, keep reading.

How Pay is Determined in Clinical Research Trials

Almost every study offers compensation or reimbursement for study-related time and/or travel. The amount a clinical trial pays varies for every study and is determined by many factors, including, but not limited to:

  • The number of in-person visits required
  • The number of phone visits required
  • Diary entry, or symptom tracking requirements
  • Time for study-related exams
  • The condition being studied
  • The patient/caregiver burden
  • The length of the study
  • The phase of the study (earlier phase studies typically involve more risk)

Regardless of how easy it can be, participation in a clinical trial can still require time and travel, and may involve risk. This is why compensation is provided for most studies at Meridian. Studies often require several visits, each of which can involve payment for completion. Additionally, some studies require weekly or daily check-ins through an app (patient diary) or phone call which also involve payment.

Examples of Low-Paying Research Studies

An example of a low-paying research study would be an interview-only study in which participants are asked questions, and are not given any investigational treatment. Some studies are conducted to assess how well packaging or instructions can be understood and followed.

Another example of a low-paying research study may be a specimen collection study, in which participants may only be required to give a blood, saliva, or nasal swab sample. These studies may only take a few hours, or less.

Examples of High-Paying Research Studies

Higher paying clinical trials may involve investigational vaccines, medications, medical devices, or tests. A Phase I study for an investigational vaccine will usually pay more than a Phase III study for the same investigational vaccine. This is because Phase I studies are the first to involve human subjects, the potential risks and benefits may not be clear.

Phase I studies may also require more of the participant’s time for visits, diary entries, or in-office exams. Inpatient studies — which require one, or more, overnight stays in a clinic — frequently pay more than outpatient studies, which only require one, or more visits. Most Meridian studies are outpatient studies.

To better understand the compensation for Phase 2-4 trials, it may help to understand the investigational product the trial is studying. For example, a trial for a potential multiple sclerosis medication may require longer visits, more intensive symptom tracking, and one-on-one visits with neurologists. Alternatively, a vaccine study, such as a COVID-19 vaccine or RSV vaccine study Meridian is conducting, may require a few visits that only require a medical exam, administration of the investigational vaccine or placebo, and blood draws.

The vaccine studies Meridian conducts typically offer $500-$2,500 in compensation for completing all visits and follow-up requirements.

How to Learn About Compensation

Meridian is fully transparent about study requirements and potential compensation — you can ask about compensation during your first phone call with Meridian or at your in-office screening. Compensation will also be covered as part of the informed consent process.

Meridian tends not to include compensation amounts in our study advertisements for the following reasons:

  • Every clinical trial has inclusion and exclusion criteria that dictate who may actually qualify for the study. Not everyone can join every trial. Once we determine your eligibility for certain research studies, we can then provide details about potential compensation. Then, through the informed consent process, you’ll learn about study timelines, visits requirements, compensation, potential risks and benefits, and more.
  • Depending on several circumstances, a participant may not earn the maximum amount for their time in the study if they do not qualify, or if they do not complete all aspects of a study.
  • Clinical trial participants may withdraw consent to their involvement with the study at any time. In this case, the participant may not receive the maximum amount.
  • We do not want to give people the impression that a lump sum is paid up front, nor do we want to coerce people to volunteer just to earn money. Participants are paid over the course of studies as visits, check-ins, etc. are completed, and valuable data about the investigational product is collected.

If you’re interested in joining a study and would like to know what it pays, ask! Meridian is transparent about study requirements and potential compensation — you can ask about study compensation during your first phone call with Meridian or at your in-office screening.

Meridian has sites nationwide that are conducting research studies in a wide range of therapeutic areas. If you’re interested in learning more about, or participating in, a clinical trial near you, visit our find a study page or call us to speak with a recruitment specialist.

More Reading on Clinical Trials

Visit our Learning Center to read all about clinical trials, or click the links below to explore related topics: