Why Participate in a Clinical Trial?

Thousands of people participate in clinical studies each year. Some studies need healthy volunteers, whereas others require participants with a certain condition or disease.

All participants are important to a clinical study. That’s because participants help researchers answer important health questions. These answers may help lead to the discovery of new medicines, which provides a unique opportunity to contribute to science.

In order to participate in a clinical study, specific eligibility criteria must first be met. These criteria help researchers identify appropriate candidates for participation and are designed to promote safety and accuracy of study results. The criteria may allow or prevent participation.

man and women reviewing details on a mobile deviceman and women reviewing details on a mobile device


Before participating in a clinical study, detailed information will be shared, and all participants must provide consent. The informed consent process is designed to protect patient safety. It is designed to ensure that all potential study participants have adequate information to make an informed decision about whether or not to take part. During this process, the purpose of the clinical study should be explained, including what the participant’s role would be, how the study will work, as well as the benefits and risks of participation and any alternatives to the study. Participants also learn about their rights, including the right to decide whether or not to take part in the study and their right to withdraw at any time, even if the study is not complete.

image of man reviewing documents about a clinical trial


The following list of possible benefits and risks is not exhaustive. The informed consent form of a clinical study would specify the possible benefits and risks of that particular clinical study.

Possible Benefits

  • Gaining access to innovative, new, investigational medicines that may not be available outside of the clinical study setting
  • Getting an experienced team of healthcare professionals to closely monitor and care for your condition
  • Learning more about your own disease or condition
  • Helping to make a difference in the lives of others affected by the same disease or condition

Taking part in a clinical study is an important decision—and one that may be beneficial. That’s because all clinical study volunteers can help researchers learn something they didn’t know before. These findings can go a long way toward informing future medical advances.

Possible Risks

  • Increasing demand for your time due to the potential for more visits to the clinical study site, hospital, or treatment center
  • Experiencing side effects from the study medication or study procedures, which may range from minor to serious or life-threatening

As with any decision that affects your health, it’s important to discuss the benefits and risks of clinical study participation with your healthcare professional. Although the decision of whether or not to participate is ultimately yours, it’s important to make sure that you understand everything that is involved. It’s also important to know your rights. Ethical guidelines are in place to protect patient volunteers while science moves forward. Remember, as a clinical study volunteer, your participation is just that—voluntary. That means that you can leave a clinical study at any time.

Carefully consider the benefits and risks for each clinical study. Talk with your healthcare professionals, your family, and the research team. Ask questions and discuss your concerns. The more you know about clinical studies, the better prepared you will be to participate and receive the care you expect.