Clinical Research Studies Canada

Clinical trials are not considered market research in the traditional sense, but they do play a very important role when pharmaceutical companies are developing new medication, or when new procedures have been developed as a treatment option.

What is a clinical trial?

Clinical trials in Canada may consist of doing a drug study or a study that researches a treatment option and are conducted to determine effectiveness and safety. They may be administered on behalf of a pharmaceutical company, government, or by a medical device company for things such as medication, supplements, vaccines, or medical procedures.

Trials may take place at a lab, a hospital, or other medical office where eligible participants are administered a treatment in a highly controlled and highly supervised environment. Depending on the phase of the trial, participants may be paid or unpaid.

Note that some clinical trial participants are patients who are in hospital or who otherwise may be very sick. When such participants partake in a clinical trial, they are typically participating in phase 0 or 1 of a trial (see below) and their participation is typically unpaid, as it may be considered a last-resort option. This is different from participating as a paid participant in a later stage of a trial.

Different phases of trials for medication

  • Phase 0 – the first trial on humans which has around a dozen participants. How a medication interacts with the body is closely observed.
  • Phase 1 – safety is paramount in this phase; determining safe dosages, identifying side effects with only a few dozen participants.
  • Phase 2 – with a few hundred people, further evaluation of the drug to evaluate safety is determined. At this point a placebo may be tested against the drug itself.
  • Phase 3 – thousands of participants may be involved to confirm the safety of the medication through the collection of more data.
  • Phase 4 – even after a medication is available publicly, ongoing trials of drugs may be conducted. More information regarding optimal use, benefits, risk, etc. are collected.

If you participate in a clinical trial listed below, you will typically be testing in either phase 3 or phase 4, though you should always double-check with the people administering the trial to be sure.

Why should I participate?

There are many good reasons to participate in a study. One great reason is if you suffer from a particular medical condition but have not had any effective treatments to date, a clinical trial can give you opportunity to test something out in a highly supervised environment while receiving compensation to do so. Though healthcare is free in Canada, medication can still prove to be very expensive, so participating in a trial is a way to receive medication or treatment for free. As well, because trials are so highly supervised, it is a good opportunity to be able to discuss your personal experience with a medication with a professional. This may mean more one-on-one time than in a typical family doctor or walk-in clinic environment.

Why do they pay so much?

Clinical trials tend to pay very well, as it can be difficult to recruit the right people for a trial. The types of volunteers needed tend to be very specific; not only must they be affected by a particular ailment, disease, medical condition, etc., but they may also need to be taking certain medication, or have had their condition for a certain amount of time, be of a certain age, etc. Because very few members of the general population fit this requirement, when someone is eligible, they are offered generous compensation as an incentive to participate. That said, occasionally, healthy volunteers who do not suffer from any pre-existing conditions may in rare cases, be recruited for a clinical trial as part of a control group.

Even though clinical trials may only be conducted once approval from a health authority or ethics committee is obtained, participating in a clinical trial may still pose some risk. Even though by the time a medication or treatment gets to the clinical trial stage, it has already been tested in the lab, possibly on animals, and has been research thoroughly, one of the steps in getting a medication approved by Health Canada is conducting clinical trials before a drug is available in pharmacies, or before a treatment is done en masse.

Clinical trials are supervised by physicians and are generally very highly monitored in the unlikely event of something going wrong. But because all risk cannot be eliminated, this is another reason why these studies tend to pay handsomely.

Register for clinical trials

For the month of October, 2020, there are no clinical trials we are aware of that are seeking to recruit patients in Canada, however you may wish to check out the following links:

Are you in medicine yourself?

If you yourself are a physician, nurse, veterinarian, or other medical professional, learn sign up to take lucrative medical surveys.