After a study is complete, the FDA decides whether to continue or halt the drug’s development. If it remains in development, the sponsor may build in a compassionate use extension for the study. This means that eligible patients may receive the study drug for a predefined amount of time without having to undergo any typical study procedures, such as blood tests or clinical ratings. This usually occurs in later studies, such as Phase III and Phase IV (post-marketing surveillance).

In some cases, a study doctor may dispense approved medication samples and provide additional consultation free of charge. These are just a few of the ways he or she might show appreciation for a patients involvement in a study.