Update on paid (or unpaid) clinical trials


Medical research is essential for the betterment of the population. To better understand and/or treat diseases, the research centers of theinsert conducting clinical trials with volunteers for new treatments. Healthy or sick, these volunteers have different interests in this approach and sometimes, it must be said, a simple financial contribution.

Your additional health insurance comparator provides an update on the progress and benefits of therapeutic trials.

The course of a clinical trial

To test a new treatment there are two scenarios: either it is compared with an already existing treatment, or there is no treatment yet and it is compared with a placebo, i.e. no effect at all. If the new drug is convincingly effective and has no harmful side effects, it will be “marketed” and can become a standard in the treatment of a pathology.

The therapeutic study proceeds in four phases:

  • phase I is a test of treatment on a group of healthy volunteers that allows to observe the evolution of the molecule in the body and its toxicity;
  • phase II is a test of treatment on a group of sick volunteers that makes it possible to determine the smallest effective dose and to detect harmful side effects depending on the dose;
  • phase III is the comparison of the new treatment with the original treatment or with a placebo in a large number of patients selected according to very specific criteria and over several years, to test its effectiveness and benefit;
  • Phase IV is the monitoring of adverse events in patients who have been prescribed the newly marketed drug.

Why and how to volunteer?

There are many reasons for someone to volunteer for a clinical trial. If the person is sick, testing a new treatment believed to be more effective may be an opportunity. If the person is healthy, it can be a substantial financial contribution, but the law sets limits not to make it a full-time activity. Indeed, the fee paid varies from trial to trial depending on limitations and risks, but should not exceed €4,500 per year. These surcharges are not taxable. In addition, a minimum period of three months must be respected between two clinical trials, for a volunteer to “continue”. To meet this deadline, the Ministry of Health maintains a national database of individuals suitable for biomedical research.

To volunteer you must be of legal age and affiliated with social security† All you need to do is approach a Clinical Investigation Center, which will host the volunteer for an interview with an investigational physician.


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