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Myths of participating in clinical trials


Clinical trials are essential for medical innovation. In order to run clinical trials and test life-saving treatments, researchers need volunteers that participate in these research studies. However, there are still some myths out there that holding many people back due to insecurity of what happens during clinical trials and fear of the unknown. Today, we will take a look at five of these myths and tell you how it really is. 


1. Clinical Trial participants are human ‘guinea pigs’

The biggest fear that people have is that clinical trials use people as guinea pigs. What many are not aware of is that investigational medicines are researched extensively before they are tested on human volunteers. Research sites hereby have very strict criteria in order to protect people that might not be a good fit or at risk. The patient’s safety is always top priority and participants can drop out of a trial at any point, if they change their minds. Besides that, patients are being briefed in detail before the trail about the overall procedure, the length, the risks and benefits, and the purpose of the study and made aware of their rights as patients. In order to be allowed in a trial, you will first have to understand and agree to all of these details through the ‘informed consent’. 


2. Your doctor will tell you if there are beneficial trials out there for you

Believe it or not, but many people think that their doctor should make the decision for them to join a clinical trial. A huge opportunity for potential subjects gets lost through this thinking. The fact is, only the patient can make this decision! Besides that, your doctor might also not be familiar with all clinical trials and their specific criteria available out there and can only point you in a direction. It is on you to learn as much as possible about clinical trials in order to make a well thought through decision. 

3. Clinical trials are dangerous

Yes, drugs or treatments in clinical trials are new, but that doesn’t mean that participating in a clinical trial is unsafe. As you know, subjects get special medical attention during trials and are closely monitored, free of charge. Researchers should clearly communicate the benefits and risks of joining a clinical trial to manage expectations and to give you a good overview of what you are getting into. 


4. I will anyway get a placebo

Some people don’t participate in trials because they fear that they are not getting the actual treatment, but the placebo. As you know, not every trial involves a placebo - this is specifically true if the study’s research area is around a serious illness, like cancer. Often, studies will compare a standard treatment PLUS a placebo with a standard treatment PLUS the new investigational treatment. Unfortunately, for some conditions and diseases, there is no effective treatment yet. To research those, there is the probability that actual treatment is being tested against a placebo, but you at least have a 50% chance of getting the actual treatment. 


5. Being in a clinical trial is expensive and health insurance won’t cover it!

Very rarely patients are faced with costs in a clinical trial. Costs that occur in a clinical trial are usually patient care costs and research costs. As for the latter, research costs, are usually paid for by the Sponsor of the trial. Patient care costs are normally not paid for by the sponsor, but by health insurance. Usually, they involve x-rays, doctor visits, hospital stays, etc. Indeed, participants of clinical trials are most of the time eligible for compensation for their time and their travel expenses. 


6. There are no benefits to participate in a clinical trial 

Making a difference for millions of people living with chronic diseases and for yourself is probably the biggest benefit of taking part in a clinical trial. Besides that, being able to get the treatment that is not yet available to the public, improving your own condition, and getting medical attention from a team of professional medicals free of charge. 

Making a difference for medical innovation


Now more than ever, we see how essential clinical research is in order to drive clinical innovation and to save the lives of millions of people. Do you want to be part of medical history and make a difference for your community? Clinical trials need volunteers in order to test new treatments effectively and bring them to the mass market. If you want to learn more about clinical trials, the benefits, and risks and see if this would be something for you, please visit our clinical trial education website here.

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