A factual representation of available over-volunteering systems


For many years there has been a concern of over-volunteering in clinical trials. With the emergence of budget airlines and the internet over-volunteering has become an issue right across Europe and so called “trial subject tourism” has become prevalent. The creation of several over-volunteering systems in the UK and mainland Europe is designed to track volunteers; however the challenge for any national system is its limited reach, therefore requiring checks on several systems to gain confidence subjects are not participating in more than one trial.

  • The concept of each available over volunteering service is to limit the number of clinical trials that volunteers can participate in for the following reasons:
  • Ensuring there is an adequate wash out period for each drug, therefore preventing any inter-drug reactions from separate trials. As well as any possible health risks, this interaction could affect the quality of results obtained from both trials.
  • The donation of too great a volume of blood in a relatively short period of time could lead to health issues for volunteers eg. Anaemia.
  • There are ethical issues with exposing volunteers to too many unnecessary drugs.

Here we will briefly look at the systems currently available and the services they provide.

Over volunteering systems currently available:

  1. TOPS
  2. The National Volunteer Register (NVR)
  3. VIP Check
  4. Fichier National/Volontaires Recherches Biomedicales (VRB)


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