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The Pros & Cons Of Medical Testing For Money



With the economy still in a state of recession, more and more people are looking for some easy ways to earn some quick cash. In the UK, some are choosing to take part in medical testing in order to earn money during these tough times.  In most cases, this is relatively harmless and pretty safe. However, negative side effects can arise and have an adverse impact on the health of participants. In the most serious incidents, this can result in long-term problems, meaning an individual may suffer both physically and financially.

Choosing to participate in medical trials is risky, and although the money can seem attractive, there are important factors to consider before committing.

Cons of Volunteering For Medical Testing

There are risks involved in any sort of medical testing, as they will involve substances never before tested on humans. The most common side effects experienced may include headaches or temporary aches and pains, though luckily these are rarely experienced for long. In some cases, more serious incidents can occur.

In 2006, six men were hospitalized following their participation in a trial for medication intended to treat inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and leukemia. The men were all previously healthy and had been paid to take part in the trial at Northwick Park hospital, Harrow. However, on the first day of testing, all participants became seriously ill, giving rise to the situation described by the trials’ US parent company as ‘extremely rare.’

A report focusing on one of the participants two years later revealed the extent of the damage caused by his taking part. The survivor suffered both mental and physical damage and despite a partial recovery, has impaired short-term memory, a higher risk of cancer, and is only able to work part-time. A second survivor subsequently underwent surgery to have his fingers and part of his feet removed. This horror story may be uncommon, though it should provide a warning of the possible consequences of committing to medical testing for money. Due to such risks, participants are normally very closely monitored. This means that trials can be very uncomfortable and lack of privacy can also be an issue.

Pros of Volunteering For Medical Testing

The obvious pros are the money.  For a short period of time, you can earn some very good cash. One famous trial in the UK is called Flu Camp. Here you are kept in confinement for two weeks, but the reward is a very handsome £3000!

Another perk, depending on the type of person you are, is that staying in a research unit for a period of time can often give you a chance to meet new people. On top of that, you are catered for free of charge, and entertainment is also supplied.  The time spent in confinement can similarly be judged as positive. It can provide a chance to get things done without outside world distractions. Whether it is to learn the guitar, start a blog, read books, or a chance to get University course work done whilst getting paid.


The majority of medical trials pass without incident and stringent guidelines are followed to ensure the safety of participants. Most paid trials involve Phase I testing, in which a treatment is tested in small doses on a number of usually healthy volunteers. Prior to this, the treatment will have undergone thorough research, lab investigations, and tests on human cells or animals. The UK licensing body MHRA must approve any tests which are proposed and regulates medical procedures, products, and equipment to ensure that patient safety and well-being are protected.

Information on paid tests running in the UK can be found online at sites such as Covance, with many trials involving overnight stays with meals and substantial payments. In-depth research is required if considering taking part in any medical trial and the monetary benefits must be weighed up with potential risks and side effects. Is risking your long-term health really worth a one-off payment? It’s also worth considering that drawing upon clinical negligence solicitors may not be an option if things go wrong. Every study will require you to sign an agreement form so it’s imperative that this is read and understood.