Why Should You Participate?

Every year, several million people participate in clinical trials to support new drug applications (NDAs) that are submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Although that may sound like a lot, it represents less than 10% of the more than 60 million people who have severe, life threatening and chronic illneses in the United States.

Study volunteers identify clinical trials in a variety of ways. Many will learn about a trial from their physician or nurse. Many patients respond to direct mail, notices on bulletin boards, newspaper, radio and television advertisements. An increasing number of people learn about trials through the internet. The CenterWatch survey found that 54% of participants refer themselves into a clinical trial. This has changed in the past few years. In 1195, two thirds of patients were referred to a trial through a physician or nurse. Only one third were self referred at that time.

The reasons why patients participate in clinical trials have not changed much over the past several years. Surveys indicate the largest percentage (60%) of study subjects get involved to find a more effective treatment for their condition. Also:

  • Approximately 25% get involved to help advance medical science
  • 11% of volunteers are involved to receive extra money
  • Less than 10% participate in order to receive better medical care and to cover the cost of therapy

What are the benefits of a clinical trial?

  • Gain access to advanced treatments that are otherwise unavailable
  • Access to study medication, medical care, and laboratory services at no cost to you or your insurance
  • Most studies offer compensation for your time and travel
  • Between 750,000 and 900,000 study volunteers will complete clinical trials for NDAs every year


"I think it's interesting to understand the process that it takes to approve a prescription drug, and it's interesting to know how many studies they do on a drug before it is released to the public. It's empowering - being a part of it, taking control of your own health and experience."

R.B. woman involved in contraceptive study

"I feel like I am helping other people. By doing this we're gathering more information that will benefit others today and in the future. And the more data they can collect, the more we know to fight this particular disease."

S.G. man involved in HIV study

"I like not having to pay for medication. My insurance does not cover a ot of it."

P.B. woman involved in contraceptive study

"I always encourage people to try new things and in this way... you could be on the cutting edge of finding something that does work for you...And again, I feel it's a good thing to do to increase the know ledge base."

J.H. woman involved in migraine study

"I obviously wasn't doing it just for the good of mankind, it served a real purpose and need for me."

B.P. man involved in Kaposis' Sarcoma studies

To learn more about the clinical trial process visit: