Jan 19

Economic recession is “a period of reduced economic activity”. Speculations of a possible recession had been raised as early as in 2007. That economic recession has now been confirmed by experts in many countries. For example, countries such as the United States has been in recession since December 2007. Many other countries are also in economic recession or slowdown, including the United Kingdom, Japan and even China. Because of that economic turndown, many people have lost their jobs or seen their savings tumble down and it is now difficult to get loans.

Finding money is becoming more and more challenging. However, some people hare using hidden resources to generate income.

Once mainly popular amongst students as an “easy and fast” way to make money, clinical trials are now becoming part of many everyday people’s lifestyle. Clinical research involves volunteers to testing new drugs. By doing so, they allow the gathering of data important to determine the safety and efficacy of the new drug, and its potential release on the market.

Some of the most reckless volunteers can bring up to $25,000 a year by participating in several clinical trials. After signing a consent form and passing the inclusion criteria, volunteers have to go to a clinical research center and undergo several tests such as checking vital signs, electrocardiograms, breathing tests, exercise tests, before and after receiving treatment. The treatment consist of a new investigational drug or can also be a placebo. Participants may have to give blood up to 5 times on a visit day at the clinical research center. Hence, volunteers who join many clinical trials may give blood up to 300-500 times throughout the year and may have tested about a dozen of new treatments or placebo.

The number of visits and hours allocated, as well as the pay per visit varies considerably between different trials and depend largely on the stage of the product development and the type of trial the volunteers are enrolled in. Therefore, participant may be paid between 50$ to 500$ for each session and each trial can last a few days to several months.  Each trial may include several consecutive visit days at the center and volunteers can also be asked to keep a diary between the visits, to assess any improvements or side effects due to the new medication. Volunteers are expected to be compliant to allow accuracy of the data, especially about safety and efficacy.  These data are particularly important to decide what are the next steps to be taken regarding the investigational drug, and if the product can safely be used on sick or younger patients.

This said, there is always safety concerns, especially at early stage of drug development, meaning side effects or drug reactions. However, possible side effects and the well-being of every subject are always a high priority for the pharmaceutical companies as well as for the investigators and staff conducting the trials. A participant may has the right to withdraw their consent at any given time, and this without any reasons.

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In conclusion, in these times of economic turndown, creative and new ways of generating money can be a big relief at the end of the month. Some people are now making their living of clinical trials and to those “lab rats”, in spite of the possible side effects, getting involved in trials is their new way to make sufficient income to pay the bills.

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