Now, before those of you currently IN MS drug study programs (or any other research program for that matter) start girding your loins for what I am about to type, remember THIS: I, too, participated in a MS DRUG research program back in 2005. That's right...I was given two infusions of a drug that rhymes with "BITE-UXIN". I have YET to receive any follow up from the pharmaceutical company or research facility that sponsored this study...I've also YET to receive any acknowledgement or confirmation that the "BITE-UXIN" medication I may or may not have received caused me to develop severe hypertension AND my MS actually WORSENED during this study...which led to being exited from the study, a change in neurologists, and being started on a new MS medication. Hmmm...I imagine my participation data just didn't make it into the final figures as it was FAR from positive. But, anyway...
I was enticed into the above study/research program by my neurologist at the time due to failed responses from two other MS medications. It seemed like a good idea...it even felt slightly altruistic. I could donate my "body and my health" to MS study AND maybe receive a personal benefit of slowed disease progression from the drug to boot! Who wouldn't go along with THAT idea?!? Of note: I also remained gainfully employed, had more insurance coverage than God (which I still do), and had little to lose other than time and possible progression of my disease...which the LATTER could occur anyway, with or without drugs or studies. I'd like to think of myself as the PERFECT candidate for drug research, if I do say so myself. And, the study PAID ME NOTHING for my participation, except free MRI's and labwork and "maybe" "BITE-UXIN" or "maybe" not...good times, good times.
Now, back to the TV ads. What bothers me greatly about these new TV ads is my concern the pharmaceutical companies are now PAYING a bit of cash out to participants. That's right..."if" you qualify, "you could receive up to $1500for your time and travel expenses, and the cost of the medication is free".
OK...again...before anyone stoops so low as to think at this juncture I am DEFENDING Big PhRMA, PULEEZE! There's just something about the noticable increase in these drug study ads and the PAYMENTS now attached that smells stronger than Puget Sound floating with dead fish. I mean, why so many drug studies right NOW? Why not, say a year or two ago...BEFORE THE UNITED STATES ECONOMY WAS SINKING FASTER THAN THE TITANIC? Before people's houses were being foreclosed upon at a rate faster than in the past 20 years? Before there were so many citizens having to choose between buying a gallon of over-priced gasoline OR pay their rent? Before the unemployment rate reached the highest level than we've seen in years? BEFORE PEOPLE WEREN'T SO DESPERATE TO MAKE $1500 DOLLARS BY SELLING THEIR BODY TO A PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANY FOR RESEARCH JUST TO MAKE ENDS MEET???
I dunno...I know I suffer from a lack of faith (and a paranoid personality), but something just smells awfully fishy about the sudden influx of all of these study ads and their financial enticements. And I'm afraid Big PhRMA has recognized, for just a few bucks, it can be open season hunting for study participants anxious to pay their bills in our current economy.
Personally, I think the pharmaceutical companies SHOULD pay their participants in some way. So how about FREE HEALTH CARE paid for by the sponsoring pharmaceutical company for the rest of my life just for taking the risk the study drugs might potentially eff me up????
Yeah, that sounds like a fair trade...