How to Be a Medical Test Subject

Give yourself over to the warm embrace of Lady Science and make up to $50,000 a year.

You will need

  • To be at least 18 years old
  • Moderately good health
  • A non-squeamish nature
  • And a willingness to accept risk

Step 1 Take eligibility test Go to BioTrax.com and take their free instant eligibility test for healthy volunteers to see if you are qualified to be a clinical trial subject. If so, a subscription to the service will get you access to information on tests all over the world.

Step 2 Peruse listings To avoid any up-front fees, go to GPGP.net (Guinea Pigs Get Paid) for a free, but less comprehensive, list of upcoming studies in the United States, Canada, and Europe.

Step 3 Contact clinic Contact a clinic that is preparing a trial that interests you—it could be anything from a simple outpatient personality test to sleep deprivation to brain imaging studies. Be prepared to answer questions about your overall health; if you sound qualified, they’ll set up a screening appointment.

Step 4 Sign consent form At the screening, you’ll be required to sign an “informed consent” form, outlining what the study will entail and any risks involved. You’ll also need to give the clinic written permission to screen you for HIV, Hepatitis B & C, drugs, and alcohol.

Step 5 Undergo physical After you complete a medical history questionnaire, you’ll be given a physical. Depending on the study, you may have to undergo psychological testing, too.

Step 6 Prepare for test If you make the cut, you’ll be told when to show up for the study and what to abstain from beforehand (like medications, alcohol, etc.). In some cases, you may have to fast.

Step 7 Collect your fee When the study is completed, you’ll be given another physical and paid. Your fee is based on both the time you served and the unpleasantness—and potential danger—of the study. In other words, having to wear a catheter pays better than popping a pill.

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