New medical treatments are introduced every year. They include prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, medical devices, vaccines, surgeries, behavioral interventions, and much more. Some address mild symptoms, while others save lives. Some treat common health conditions like asthma and arthritis, while others tackle newfound illnesses. (If all goes well, treatments and a vaccine for COVID-19 may be available next year). While these treatments vary immensely, they are all alike in that they required clinical studies. In fact, a majority of medical treatments on the market were once studied in several rounds of clinical research studies, many of which – perhaps surprisingly – required healthy participants. Healthy volunteer studies are critical for a variety of reasons, and they give people in good health an opportunity to take part in clinical research.
Why Do Clinical Studies Need Healthy Participants?
Many people assume that because medical treatments are designed to help people suffering from a specific health condition, only people who suffer from that health condition are needed for clinical research. But in fact, healthy people play a pivotal role in many clinical studies.
When researchers are developing a new treatment, they need healthy participants for clinical studies to better understand the treatment. Through healthy volunteer studies, researchers can learn how a healthy individual’s body processes the treatment, which helps them determine if the product is safe. This phase of testing occurs before the treatment is tested for effectiveness on individuals who have the health condition for which the treatment was designed.
During some studies, researchers may compare the data of healthy participants with the data of participants with the specific disease or condition. Healthy participants are given the same test, procedure, or drug as the patient group, providing essential data for researchers. Although the healthy participants may not directly benefit from the treatment, their participation may contribute to the development of the medical product.
How Healthy Volunteer Studies Work
To qualify for a clinical research study, healthy participants must meet the inclusion and exclusion criteria established for the study. These requirements vary from study to study and may relate to the therapy or drug being tested. For example, a study for a treatment related to menopause would not require male participants. Common deciding factors for many studies include age, gender, pregnancy status, and smoking status. That said, healthy individuals who wish to participate in clinical research shouldn’t have too much trouble locating a study that fits their needs.
Before you are enrolled in a study, you will need to undergo some basic health evaluations and tests. While feeling healthy is a great starting point, the clinical research staff must determine that you are medically healthy as well. If it’s been a little while since your last physical examination, you might find this process enlightening and gain a greater understanding of your health.
If you’re accepted into the study, clinical research staff will review important information with you. You should be fully aware of the study’s procedures, expectations, potential benefits, and potential risks before you agree to take part. Keep in mind that even after you sign the informed consent form, you are free to withdraw from the study at any time.
Healthy people choose to participate in clinical research for a variety of reasons. For example, some people want to help people living with a particular disease, or to contribute to knowledge of the product. The benefits of clinical studies are vast.
Are you interested in joining a clinical research study as a healthy participant? QPS Missouri is looking for new participants. Since opening its doors in 1994, QPS Missouri has conducted over 1,000 FDA-regulated studies, paying out over $35 million to local participants. Your local participation could have a global impact, as QPS is an international leader in contract research with facilities in North America, Europe, and Asia. Our mission is to contribute to the development of drugs worldwide by enabling developments in pharmaceutical innovation. If you would like to join us in this mission, consider applying for a clinical research study.
To get started, you simply need to fill out an online application. Within 48 hours, a recruiting coordinator will contact you for your pre-screening assessment. To learn more, please visit the QPS Missouri website, review the study participation process, or check out our list of FAQ.