4 Reasons Why Lawyers Are Present When You Sign Up To Participate In Clinical Trials

Posted on: 21 May 2018

Clinical trials are experimental runs on new medications and new drugs. To conduct these trials on human subjects, the drugs and medicines have to go through a few other trials, often involving blood samples and/or animals as the test subjects. If you want to sign up to become a human lab rat, it is actually a pretty lucrative thing to do, which is why so many people volunteer.

When and if you do, and you get past the rigorous initial screening, you will enter a test lab for a clinical trial. As you are "processed" into the lab and its settings, you will encounter people in suits instead of lab coats. These are usually the clinical trial lawyers. Clinical trial lawyers are present for four main reasons.

1. Legally Binding Documents 

You will have to sign several consent forms attesting to the clinical trial in which you have agreed to participate. Read these documents carefully. The lawyers work for the pharmaceutical company that is testing this new medicine/drug, and it is the lawyers who drew up your consent forms. The forms are straightforward and easy to understand, but they are legally binding for both you and the company who has promised to compensate you for being a trial volunteer. 

2. Acting as Witnesses

There are fewer witnesses who are better than lawyers. The lawyers can see the process as it happens and as it unfolds during the intake process. The lawyers can then report back to the company, as well as act as witnesses in the event that anything goes particularly wrong with the trial. 

3. Filing Paperwork

After you sign your consent forms, the lawyers file these away. Since it lists patient names and company-sensitive information, the lawyers are required to hold onto it and lock it up. Your personal information is also kept secret so that no competing pharmaceutical companies can approach you for information. (Even if they did, you already agreed not to share any details about this drug trial, or you would forfeit your financial compensation for being part of the trial.)

4. If You Talk, You Get Nothing

Any clinical trial that provides monetary compensation for your participation also requires that you keep everything confidential. Even months or years after you have received your compensation, you are not allowed to say anything. The lawyers and staff keep a close eye on the patients/participants to make sure they do not talk to each other, either. In the event that you do leak confidential information, the lawyers can sue you to retrieve the compensation you received.