The last time I was unemployed was February/March 2007. Back then I had little money (maybe $2000?) and was spending it like there was no tomorrow. I watched TV while on eBay every. single. day. bidding for TV series on DVD and selling my junk. My boyfriend at the time had no problems with this and actually encouraged the behaviour (so much so that, when I did get another job he complained that I was never home to cook or clean etc and we broke up shortly afterwards. Pity because I really did like him a lot).
Anyways. Eventually money ran short. You can’t buy DVDs at Wal-Mart for $20, sell them on eBay for $5 and expect your savings to last forever. I lived in a really ghetto neighbourhood and, while conversing with the neighbours one day, we began talking about clinical trials.
Clinical trials work like this: You go to a clinic for a few days, get injected with various drugs and are a human guinea pig as the researchers document the side effects etc of the drug. Paying people to be guinea pigs is illegal in Canada so the researchers “compensate” you for the time that you spend at the clinic. Most of the trials pay between $1000-2000 for a few over-night stays but every once and awhile you’ll find a study that pays $4000+
I decided to try being a human guinea pig. The first step was to email the company and tell them that I was interested in participating. I received a call-back almost immediately asking me to come to their clinic (their far away clinic, I might add!) and have blood tests performed. I went, had all my tests done, signed a bunch of forms and was told that there was a waiting list to participate in studies because of the high demand. I sat by the phone for a few days afterwards hoping for a call but nothing came of it.
Why are clinical trials so popular? While I never thought to ask (because I was 18 and didn’t think of such things), I believe that this “compensation” doesn’t count as income and is therefore, not taxed, nor does it count towards reducing your EI or welfare benefits. This belief stems from the fact that clinical trials were very popular in my welfare-friendly neighbourhood (there are multiple companies which “recruit” human guinea pigs and the neighbours were on ALL the waiting lists). Maybe I’m being elitist, I don’t know.
Today, I don’t think that I would participate in a clinical trial. Even though I’m a very trusting person, I think that I was a bit naive in 2007 to think that clinical trials were a safe way to make $1000.
Would you participate in a clinical trial for $1000?
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