Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where are you located?

    Our Clinical facilities are located in Toronto (Scarborough) and our Corporate Office is in Mississauga. Please see Contact Us for maps and directions.

  • Do I have to stay overnight?

    Yes. Generally, you will have to stay with us overnight for at least one night. All of our studies are different, and the amount of time you spend with us depends on the particular study you volunteer for.

  • Where will I sleep?

    Our clinical facility has accommodations for sleeping. Beds will be assigned based on your position in the study. We try our best in making your stay as comfortable as possible by providing clean bed linens, thermal blankets, and pillows. We only ask that you not bring pillows or blankets from home.

  • Will there be a place for showering?

    Yes. Each clinic has personal showers. Clean towels and most toiletries are provided (toothbrush and toothpaste are not included). You may also bring your own personal toiletries (shampoo, body wash, etc.) as long as they are non-medicated.

  • Are meals provided?

    Yes. All of your meals and snacks are provided while you are at our clinic. Meals and snacks are designed for the study and everyone is given the same food in the same quantity. You may not bring your own food into the clinic.

  • What are "fed" studies?

    Some studies are what we call "fed" studies, where each volunteer is required to consume a high-fat, high-calorie breakfast prior to taking the drug.

  • What will I do while staying at the clinic?

    Our clinic has a state-of-the-art entertainment system including 52-inch LCD televisions, surround sound, and PlayStation 3 consoles. With over 200 channels, a DVD collection, and an assortment of PlayStation 3 games, we hope to make your stay at our clinic as enjoyable as possible. In addition, here are computers with high speed internet and lounges with natural lighting, comfortable couches, and an overall peaceful environment for you to catch up on some work, chat with friends, play a board game, or just relax.

  • What should I bring?

    • Identification (government-issued, photo ID)
    • Proof of current health coverage
    • Toothbrush and toiletries (shampoo, soap, etc.)
    • Flip-flops for the shower
    • Loose, comfortable clothing
    • Rubber-soled shoes

    You will be provided with a numbered T-shirt when you come in for the study so that our staff can identify you. The shirt must be visible at all times (no pullover sweaters). Many volunteers prefer to wear their own clothes underneath the t-shirt and this is generally acceptable as long as your clothing is loose fitting. For safety reasons, we require you wear non-slip shoes at all times (except in the sleeping area).

    We take no responsibility for lost or stolen items and suggest that you do not bring any valuables to the clinic. We have lockers for you to store any personal items such as your purse or wallet. To use them, please bring a standard key or combination lock with you.

  • Are cell phones allowed?

    Yes they are. Cell phones will not be confiscated at check-ins. To protect the privacy of our volunteers a security tape will be placed over the camera and must remain intact until all study-related in-house procedures are completed (ie. exit). Cell phones must remain in silent mode throughout, confinement and must not be used during certain in-house procedures (ie. dosing, sleep times, blood draws, ECG/vitals, meals, etc.) & not cause a disturbance. At each exit bag check, staff will confirm that the security tape has not tampered with. In addition, you will have access to landline telephones while in the clinic. Any violation of the cell phone rules can result to disciplinary action.

  • Are laptops allowed?

    Yes they are. Laptops will not be confiscated at check-ins. To protect the privacy of our volunteers, a security tape will be placed over the camera and must remain intact until all study-related in-house procedures are completed (ie. exit). At each exit bag check, staff will confirm that the security tape has not been tampered with. Any violation of the laptop rules can result to disciplinary action.

  • Are recording devices (ie. cameras, video/audio recorders, etc.) allowed?

    No. To protect the privacy of our volunteers, recording devices will be confiscated at check-ins and will be securely stored until you leave from the clinic. Any violation of our rules can result in disciplinary action.

  • How much does a study typically compensate?

    Each study is different and compensation varies. Your compensation is based on the time spent in the clinic and the number of return visits required. For more information on how compensation is calculated, please refer to the Subject Compensation Guidelines available in our Recruiting and Screening centre.

  • When will I receive my compensation?

    You will be compensated by cheque at the end of the study.

  • What if I can't finish the study?

    In the event that you cannot complete a study, you will be paid based on the portion of the study that you did complete. Your payment, however, will not be available until the end of the study. While you may choose to leave a study at any time, your participation history may be used to determine future eligibility.

  • Does PMRI deduct taxes?

    No. You will not receive an employment statement from us for.

  • What are some of the health and safety procedures?

    Your health and safety is very important to us. We encourage you to read the Safety Rules pamphlet available when you come in for your screening appointment and in the Information Centres throughout the clinic. Below are some examples of the rules:

    DO NOT:

    • Bring into the facility any sharp objects such as knives, razor blades, knitting needles, etc.
    • Enter any areas marked "Authorized Personnel Only"
    • Attempt to lift any heavy items (i.e. television)


    • Note the location of the nearest emergency exit
    • Wear shoes at all times except when in the sleeping area
    • Follow the direction of PMRI staff at all times
    • Be aware of slippery surfaces

  • Do I need to bring my health card?

    Yes. You must bring proof of current health coverage in Ontario. If you are a resident of Ontario, please present your valid OHIP card. If you are visiting from another province, your provincial health card is valid for 3 months after you leave your home province, after 3 months you need to obtain other coverage. Other forms of health coverage may include student health insurance, travel health insurance, and approved immigration status papers that state you have health coverage.

  • What forms of identification do you accept?

    We accept government-issued photo IDs, such as your passport, citizenship card, BYID card and driver's license. In addition to being government-issued, your ID must have a photo and contain your name and date of birth.

  • Will there be side effects from the drug?

    Before deciding whether or not to volunteer in a study you will be given an information package which lists the possible side effects. You may or may not experience side effects, but in the case that you do, our qualified staff are available throughout the study to assist you and provide medical care if necessary.

  • Are these studies safe?

    All the studies are reviewed by an independent ethics board and approved by Health Canada to ensure that your health and safety is protected. Volunteers are also fully informed with regard to drug, adverse events, and procedures (e.g. blood draws, ECGs, etc.) that will be performed on study. PMRI wants to ensure that you understand what to expect while on study. It is important to note that for most studies volunteers will only be given a single-dose of the study drug. This minimal exposure reduces the likelihood of adverse events.

  • How much blood will be taken?

    Each study is different. Our recruiters will inform you of the total amount of blood that will be taken for your specific study. Generally, the amount of blood taken is relatively small. To help you better understand the amount of blood taken, we will provide you a percentage comparison to a typical blood donation (i.e. to Canadian Blood Services).

    While on study, we take a small amount of blood (about 6 mL) at specific sampling times. The frequency (how often) and number of samples drawn is different for every study. Each Subject may choose to have the blood drawn by direct venipuncture (like when you go for a blood test) or have a catheter inserted. The choice is yours. Before deciding whether of not to participate in a study, you will be informed of the amount of sampling scheduled and total amount of blood required.

  • How often can I participate?

    To protect your health and well being, a "lock-out" period is enforced after you complete a study. The typical lock-out period is 30 days and is based on both the amount of blood drawn and the type of drug. This means that after completing a study, you must wait 30 days before participating in another study - whether at Pharma Medica Research Inc. or another company. The lock-out period is in place to protect your health and safety, and is calculated based on the amount of blood taken as well as the type of drug

  • How long will I stay in the clinic?

    Volunteers typically check in to the clinic for 36-48 hours. They arrive at the clinic around 5pm the evening before the study starts and stay for 2 nights. For most studies, you exit around 8am the following day. Some studies involve earlier check in and longer stays. Please refer to the Current Studies listing on the website for more details. There are also some studies called "multiple-dose" or "steady-state" that involve extended stays in the clinic. Volunteers may stay anywhere from 5 to 30 days.

  • How often do I need to return to the clinic?

    Most studies involve between 2 and 4 overnight stays in the clinic. Please refer to the Current Studies listing on the website or contact our Recruiting Center (416-759-5554) for a detailed study schedule. In addition to overnight stays, some studies have "return blood draws". In these studies, volunteers are required to return to the clinic at the designated time to have a blood sample drawn. In most cases you should be at the clinic less than 30 minutes. Detailed times and dates for the return blood draws are provided in advance. Compensation for the return blood draws is included in the study fee.

  • What is the difference between a wash-out and a lock-out period?

    A wash-out period is the amount of time scheduled between doses of the drug. For example, after staying in the clinic overnight and taking a dose of a drug you will typically go home, then return and enter the clinic again for another single dose of the study drug on another day. The period between visits is called the "wash-out period". It is typically 1 week but may be 2 weeks or longer.

    A lock-out period is the amount of time that you must wait after participating in a study before you can volunteer for another one. Typically, there is a 30-day lock-out period. This means that after completing a study, you must wait 30 days before participating in another study - whether at Pharma Medica Research Inc. or another company. The lock-out period is in place to protect your health and safety, and is calculated based on the amount of blood taken as well as the type of drug.

  • What happens if I have side effects from the drug?

    Your safety is a priority at Pharma Medica. You will be monitored during the study to make sure you are feeling well. If you experience discomfort of any sort, our staff and physicians will care for you.

  • How does Pharma Medica protect my Personal Information?

    Pharma Medica uses several safeguards to protect your personal information, such as physical (limited access areas and locked offices, cabinets and drawers), technological (computer passwords and firewalls) and organizational controls (limiting access on a "need-to-know" basis and staff training).

  • What if I have a complaint?

    We encourage you to contact our Privacy Officer with any concerns. Please refer to the Privacy section on our website for more details on the complaint process.

  • What is Personal Information?

    Personal Information (PI) is any information about an identifiable individual. This includes information such as:

    • Age, name, ID numbers or ethnic origin
    • Opinions, evaluations, comments, social status, or disciplinary actions
    • Medical records

  • Can I request access to or correction of my Personal Information?

    Requests for access to and/or correction of your personal information can be made in writing to the Privacy Officer. Please see Access Requests or Correction Requests for more information.

  • How long will screening take?

    Your screening appointment will take about an hour.

  • What if I need to cancel my appointment?

    We require 24 hours notice for cancellations. After business hours we have voicemail where you can leave a message.

  • Can I bring my child or pet to my appointment?

    No. Visitors, guests, or pets are not permitted in the Clinic or screening locations.

  • What is considered healthy at Pharma Medica?

    We are looking for volunteers that are not currently taking any medications (female birth control is usually allowed), and have no medical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes etc. Volunteers must also meet certain height and weight requirements to participate in studies.

    During screening, volunteers will be asked questions about their medical history, provide blood and urine samples, and have height, weight, and blood pressure measured. The process is very similar to your standard annual physical examination at your doctor's office.

    Female volunteers will have pregnancy testing at screening and also when entering into any period of a study. Females who are pregnant, lactating, or unwilling to use approved methods of birth control cannot participate. If you have been pregnant there are restrictions for how soon you can participate in a study. Please contact the Recruiting Centre at (416) 759-5554 for more information.

  • What if I don't show up for my appointment?

    If you are a no-show for your appointment and did not notify us that you could not make it, we may suspend your file for 30 days. This means that you would have to wait at least 30 days before you can volunteer for another study. If you fail to show up for 4 screening appointments, you may be banned from participating in future studies at Pharma Medica Research Inc.

  • I didn't pass my screening - now what?

    There are many reasons that you may not pass your screening:

    • If you had a positive drug screen, your file will be suspended based on the drug that you tested positive for. For example, if you had THC (Marijuana, pot, weed) in your system, you would have to wait six months before doing another medical.
    • If your blood results or vital sign measurements were outside of our acceptable range, our physician will determine if you can screen for another study, or if you should follow-up with your own doctor.
    • If you were over or under our weight requirement, you can book another medical when you feel that your weight has changed to meet our guidelines.

    For more details, speak to our Recruiting Department.