There is often a negative connotation attached to volunteering for clinical trials. You may be referred to as a "human guinea pig" by people who do not understand how this process works. What others misunderstand is that a "human guinea pig" denotes someone who did not give his/her permission to be part of a science experiment. Clinical trials are not like that at all. Here is more about how these trials work, and why volunteers participate.

Drug Trials in Their Final Stages

Almost all clinical trials that are asking for volunteers are for medications that are in the end stages of production. The research companies want to make sure that before these medications get the FDA stamp of approval, they will not have any negative effects on anyone. The drugs or medications are already free and clear of very dangerous and potentially fatal effects, so the research companies just want to make sure that an excellent cross-section of the population has been tested for milder side effects.

Volunteers Volunteer for Two Reasons

Volunteers volunteer for clinical trials for two reasons. First and foremost, people volunteer because of monetary compensation. Most trials offer a stipend or payment of some sort for your participation. (This is probably the reason why you chose to participate in the first place.) Secondly, people participate in order to help pharmaceutical companies create new medications that can save lives and increase the quality of life for many people with varying diseases and disorders. If you were actually a "human guinea pig," you would just be randomly selected and forced against your will to act as a drug recipient. Clearly, that is not the case.

You Can Drop out of the Trial at Any Time

Another noteworthy point you can make with those that say you are a "human guinea pig" is that everyone who participates in a trial is free to drop out at any time. If you do not like where a trial is going, or you begin to have a reaction, you can quit. In fact, most researchers will order a "force-quit" if they notice that you are having an unexpected and unpleasant reaction to the medication being tested.

If you actually were a "human guinea pig," you would not have that much personal freedom, safety from harm, and consideration for your life and well-being. Like an actual guinea pig, you would just be forced to continue with the study until it is complete. As a guinea pig, you would not receive free healthcare services in the event of a rare and life-threatening situation either. Research companies, like Quintiles, provide and care for all volunteers in a trial.