What is a paid medical trial?

A paid medical trial is a research study designed to answer specific questions about new therapies, vaccines or new ways of using known treatments. Medical trials (often referred to as medical research, research studies, clinical or drug trials) are used to determine whether new drugs or treatments are both safe and effective, and to assess how medication is absorbed and excreted to ensure that it is well tolerated. Some paid medical trials are run with healthy people while others may be run with patients. Carefully conducted drug trials are the fastest and safest way to find treatments that work in people. Medical trials are voluntary; once you join the panel it is up to you to decide if you want to take part or not. We need people like you to help us develop new medications for the future.

To join the panel

Before you apply to the panel, please ensure that you fulfil the requirements listed below.

  • You are a resident in the UK
  • You are registered with a General Practitioner (GP)
  • You are not currently participating in any other Clinical Trials
  • You are able to provide your NI number and photographic ID
  • You do not regularly take recreational drugs
  • You do not drink alcohol excessively


The first stage in the screening process is for you to complete a Health Questionnaire. If we then think it is possible for you to be involved in the paid medical trials, you will be invited to take part in a free medical screening. Provided this meets our requirements, we will ask your GP to complete a report form. You will need to sign this form to give us permission to contact your GP and to allow your doctor to provide us with this information. This information is valid for one year so we will need to contact your GP on an annual basis, for as long as you remain on the panel and participate in the drug trials.

The medical screening involves a medical interview and some basic clinical investigations at the Clinical Unit. This will take approximately one hour. We will take an ECG (which records the rhythm and electrical activity of your heart), blood pressure reading, height and weight assessments.

We will also take blood samples for laboratory testing. The blood tests will be looking at your blood chemistry e.g.cholesterol, liver and kidney function and a blood count to ensure that you are not anaemic. Once the results from the initial medical are available, we will assess your suitability for joining our Volunteer Panel and decide on the types of paid clinical trials that you can take part in.

Prior to the screening phase of each study, we access a nationwide medical trials database, compiled by research units. This allows research organisations like ours to verify that an individual volunteer is not participating in a medical trial elsewhere - as this can be dangerous to the individual. In order to check the medical trails database, we need you to provide us with a National Insurance number, and some form of photo identification, which might be your passport or driving license. Only your national insurance or passport number and the date of your last dose of study medication are entered into the medical trial database; your name and any other personal information are not.

Before you take part in any drug trial, the screening assessments may be more comprehensive and specific - depending on the requirements for that drug trial.