Medical Research & Clinical Trials in Australia

Are you in a tight spot and need some quick cash right now? Have you heard about clinical trials, but not sure if they're right for you? Then keep reading to discover all about Medical Research & Clinical Trials in Australia!

Clinical trials in Australia
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Many backpackers take part in Medical Research & Clinical Trials in Australia. They can be a great way to make a lot of money very quickly.

There is also the added bonus is that all food is provided and you really cannot spend a cent while you're in there.

If you are feeling a bit nervous about it, keep in mind, that while there is no guarantee that something won't go wrong, Australia is one of the world leaders in medical research.

If there was a country you wanted to be in while doing a trial, Australia would be it.

Other interesting pages on Downundr!

Introduction to clinical trials in Australia

Australian scientists and doctors have invented, discovered, or were the first to successfully trial such things as: the anthrax vaccine, penicillin, flu vaccine redenza, snake and spider antivenin, cervical cancer vaccine, and much more. You really are in some very safe hands!

A young man using his laptop in bed while in a clinical trial
Want to get paid for laying around all day?

All trials have undergone many many tests before it even comes close to being tested on humans, and if any one of those tests fail, the trial does not go any further.

They even test the new drug on human blood and DNA before testing on people. So you can be assured that, up to this point, everything is as safe as possible.

For legal and moral reasons, I must let you know that no trial is ever 100% safe or without risks. Just like some people can have an allergic reaction to Aspirin, participants in a medical research trial could have a bad reaction to the new drug. All this should be made aware to you when you go in for your medical test.

What to expect from a to clinical trial

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A young man getting his blood pressure taken
A couple of needles and blood pressure tests
and you could be making some big $$$

So now that you know that there is a risk factor, if you're still reading this then the next obvious question you'll be interested in knowing is, "What is involved, and what can I get out of it"? Basically, to be considered eligible for any trial you will first have to undergo a medical test. If you pass this then they will select candidates for the trial.

Each trial is different. Some involve just a 3 hour stay, others might involve a 24 hour stay and several visits after for blood samples, or something else. Others require you to be there for longer durations, potentially up to four weeks.

You generally get paid an hourly rate, so the longer the trial, the more you get paid. For a 3 week trial, you could expect something around the $5,000+ figure for your time.

Two guys playing playstation while participating in a clinical trial
With game consoles & TVs, you won't get
too bored! In fact, it is like a little holiday!

Hint. Each trial will test the drug on several groups (also known as Cohorts) of people. The first Cohort is the first time the drug is tested on people. They are given a small sample of the drug, and if everything is good they will then test the drug on the second Cohort, and they are given a bigger sample of the drug. If everything is still good they will proceed to test on the third Cohort, who are again given a bigger sample than the Cohort before them. This process continues until the drug is tested on a group of people at the full dosage, generally Cohort 6 - 8. If at all possible, try NOT to be in Cohort 1, as if humans are going to have a bad reaction to the drug it is generally discovered in this Cohort.

A bunch of people relaxing while participating in a clinical trial
If you're lucky there could even be pool or
table tennis tables for you to use!

Most of the longer trials take place in a special hospital unit. What happens when you're in there? Normally you'll be woken fairly early, you'll have to spend certain parts of the day in bed (for example, when they are collecting blood samples), all meals are provided, you cannot smoke, or drink or eat anything apart from what is given you, and physical activities are restricted.

However, to stop people getting board the clinics normally have a TV at each bed, a TV room, a computer/internet room, some kind of games table/s (ping-pong, pool, air hockey, etc), board games, all the major newspapers on a daily basis, etc.

How to find a trial

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It can be hard to find information about trials if you don't know where to look. Luckily for you I have got a list of the best providers in the country.

The best way to find out more details about Medical Research & Clinical Trials in Australia, or to find a trial to take part in, is to visit the websites of institutes who perform these studies. Where possible I have linked direct to their "Current Trials" page.

Below you will find a list of the biggest clinics in Australia. And if you have any other questions just ask their friendly staff, they will be more than happy to answer all your questions.

Search for trials in Australia:    Search...
Australia Wide:

Clinical Trials FAQ

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Yes they can. So long as you have a visa that allows you to earn money (typically a Work and Travel or Study visa, but not just a Tourist visa) then there are no restrictions taking part in a trial.

No. It is not classified as work, so it does not count. Even if it was classified as work, it would not count towards the three months work that backpackers must do to get an extended, or second, working holiday visa. For more details about extended working holiday visas please visit the Second or Extended Australian Working Holiday Visa page.

There is no best month to find a trial, they generally go all year long. What seems to have more of an impact is the global financial sector. During 2009 - 2011 there were less trials to be found. I speculate that during uncertain times companies decide to not spend as much on research and development. But the good news is that the industry seems to be in full swing at the moment with many trials to be found.

It really depends on what the trial is, how long it goes for, and the total number of contact hours you are in the clinic for. For a 3 week trial where you must stay in the clinic the entire time you could expect to make $6,000+ AUD, but for a short trial it may only be a couple hundred dollars.

This is determined on a trial by trial basis. Obviously some medicines are created specifically for one gender, other medicines for the other gender, and some are for both.

Generally speaking, trials that are not targeting the female gender will only accept male applicants for the first few cohorts. I am unsure why this is, but I speculate that this is because the male body is less complicated biologically and less can go wrong; thus, they like to test it on males first.

Some trials prohibit it. Other trials are open to smokers. Some trials only want smokers (but these are rare). Whatever the case, you cannot smoke while you are staying in the clinic. So if the trial goes for 3 weeks, you won't be able to smoke a single cigarette in that time.

Most trials allow you to have visitors during your stay in the clinic. Generally speaking they restrict it to one visitor at a time per person. However, if you are under exceptional circumstances they may allow 2+ visitors (an example of this is if immediate family do not live close to the clinic and they come to visit you).

Every clinic and every trial is unique. Each will have their own sets of rules and requirements. While most of what is written on this page applies in a general sense of the word, please note that nothing is a certainty. Most trials you will simply have to stay in the clinic for monitoring. However, some trials prohibit you from using a mobile/cell phone and others may require you to stay awake at night and sleep during the day. Any strange requirements should be made known to you when applying for the trial, but I suggest that if you are seriously considering doing a trial to ask any other questions you may have - it is better to know in advance! Good luck. And remember 1000's of people do trials every year Australia without a single problem!

A special thanks to for the photos on this page, all of which were taken inside their facilities!

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