Easy College Cash: Clinical trials for pay
A lot of people I knew in college participated in paid clinical trials for medications that were going through the FDA approval process. From a grown-up California-ized yuppie/hippy perspective… this seems almost crazy. People would take drugs that they didn’t need in exchange for money? They would get their blood drawn & numbers analyzed, just to get paid? They would participate in medical studies… for money?
I never did it. It had nothing to do with alarm bells sounding in my head about unnecessary drugs. I don’t mind needles (I kind of like giving blood), and I don’t remember being concerned about any effects. Rather, it was just one of those things I never was motivated enough to get around to trying to do. They usually wanted males, or you had to go in really early in the morning for blood draws, or whatever. There was always some level of “meh, not worth it” in my mind. (Oh, I remember why – females couldn’t be on birth control, which I typically was.)
Still, I remember how much sense it seemed to make back then when my friends talked about it. My college boyfriend did, and all of his roommates. Both of my sisters did studies. It was a really normal thing for people I knew to be doing.
Why? It was good money for a student. For example, I just checked the website and you can sign up for a two weekend study (Friday afternoon – Monday morning) for $1,500. Working minimum wage jobs, I couldn’t make that much in a month. I probably didn’t make that much in several months when I had to split my time betweens school & work! This was the argument I heard over and over – you just couldn’t make as much at “normal” jobs available to college students.
It’s really strange to think about now. In my current privlidged life, I would never spend two weekends in a medical facility & take an unnecesary drug for $1500. I wouldn’t consider it for a minute. Are they taking advantage of young and broke students in a somewhat rural area? At the same time, I remember how big of an impact those cash infusions had on students who didn’t have the time/desire to work retail or waitress. I have to admit, my time would have been more efficiently spent in a medical facility studying (and occasionaly getting pricked) than running pasta and wine at a chain Italian restaurant. It’s an effective way to make money, the research needs to be done, and the risks are quite low.
Whenever this pops into my head, I feel conflicted. So, I’m curious. Have you ever done anything like this? Do you know anyone that has? What would you think if someone you knew said they were about to participate in one of these studies?