Monday, November 28, 2011

Earning Money as a Human Guinea Pig

More cash-strapped mums are signing up for clinical trials. Yvette Santana, a 37-year-old mother of 4 who has diabetes, could not always afford a US$80 box of glucose test strips to keep an eye on her illness. She worked two jobs but sometimes had to go without the strips, putting the needs of her family - such as paying bills and buying groceries - before her health. She started participating in clinical trials, and they provide her with insulin, health check-ups and free strips. She told ABC News in a glowing report about participation that she's healthier than ever.

Jennifer Martinez, a 33-year-old mother of 4, does not struggle as much. She lives in a high-end community in a two-storey house. She and her husband participate in studies to make extra cash, which they use for a yearly trip to Hawaii. She started participating in trials at age 23 so she wouldn't have to put her children into day care. Martinez trawls the web for study announcements many times each day. She says she looks for "not-crazy studies", taking medications that don't affect her brain or heart and have only minor "over-the-counter symptoms" such as nausea. She says she's never had a side-effect. "I think I'm probably pickier than most people on which [studies] I do," she said.

Martinez makes, on average, US$7,000 a year participating in studies but one year she made $13,000. She does about 3 each year, but if she needs extra cash for Christmas or a big bill, she may do an extra one.

The company Martinez works for, Clinical Trials Texas, has found several cases of breast cancer, HIV and hepatitis when doing preliminary testing on volunteers. "They would not have found that if they would not have been in a study," said Kay Scroggins of CTT. "A lot of our patients will come in and be very depressed and be put on a medication that they may not have been able to have access to otherwise and seen a big improvement where they're back working. They can interact with their families again." ~ ABC News, Nov 21

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