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December 15, 2021

Would you consider being a human guinea pig?

Live near a hospital or university? Have you ever thought of signing up for an experiment or research study?

There are many good reasons to volunteer to participate in such experiments: the advancement of science, help with personal medical issues, the opportunity to help future generations and, it seems, the chance to pick up a bit of cash.

Often, research facilities will post studies where participants can earn anywhere from $25 to $250, more if the trial is ongoing. At the very least, sponsors will cover travel and parking and recruiters often pay for referrals, generally in the form of a gift card.

And there's no shortage of activity, in both Toronto and Montreal, at least. And recruiters seem to track the entire country.

The real money is in long-term trials. Some experiments are more involved, time-consuming and intrusive than others and pay a premium with the total take sometimes ending in up in the thousands of dollars. 

Being a human guinea pig is fairly safe, say recruiters, particularly in this country where regulations tend to be more stringent.

Personally, I'm not sold. After all, it's your health you're playing with. But there seems to be no shortage of seats to fill.

Would you sign up for such a trial? Or have you already done so? Was it worth the money? How did things work out?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...