Funding Study-unorthodox methods

Around the world students are participating in clinical trials to fund their education. The money is good – really good, many studies will pay for a single trial the equivalent of a scholarship or even a year of part-time student pay. Pay is dependant on the risk, the greater the risk the bigger the pay checks. A drug that has already been tested on humans in previous trials for example may only pay a few hundred dollars. For a drug being trialed on a human for the first time the pay can be thousands and if a biopsy or other invasive procedure is involved the money gets really good. For drug trials the students are often able to remain at home and in school throughout the trial.

In the United States alone it is estimated that thousands of students volunteer for clinical trials every year. The idea has become so popular among students that many research facilities now have waiting lists of students prepared to trial new drugs or offer their bodies to research. This is of course both scary and cool. Scary because being a human guinea pig carries risk but cool because the student is being paid to advance science and medicine.

Researchers undertaking trials must acknowledge and advise of the risks prior to a student participating. Most trials are successfully completed without any ill effects but there have been disasters. In a number of trials perfectly healthy human beings have become extremely ill, in a couple of well publicized cases in the U.K perfectly healthy men and women received what were thought to be conservative doses of new drugs and they experienced complete organ failure. That is scary stuff! So, although it is common and we acknowledge it here because it is common, the risks are probably worth thinking about twice.

On balance accidents don’t happen often. Many student’s and researchers suggest a student is at greater risk going out to get drunk on the weekend. If you need the money, you want to be part of a cure for disease or another medical breakthrough and you’ve weighed up the risks, it might be worth it?

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