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Human Guinea Pig, At A Price?

By: Lindsay Puccio
By: Lindsay Puccio

November 2, 2005

We've all seen the ads that say your can participate in a clinical trial and make $300. Well, that money may not be worth the risk. According to Bloomberg News, who did a year long investigation, many private research groups are under regulated and profit-driven.

"The ethics of clinical research has become grim. I'm actually frightened about it," said Arthur Caplan, a Medical Ethicist.

Pharmaceutical companies most often hire private clinics or doctors to do their trials Those drug companies are the ones that pay the review board to regulate the studies.

"If you think about it, how can you trust someone to look out for your best interests if the person who's paying them is the sponsor of the study?" Said Caplan.

The Director of the Charlottesville Research Group said trust shouldn't be the issue because it's simply not true. In fact, they are regulated just the same as research groups at Universities.

"We follow all the same regulations, we have monitors from the Pharmaceutical companies, we are audited by the FDA, we are audited by the sponsors and we follow all the exact rules," said Nancy Bolton, Clinical Research Director.

Throughout the 15 years Bolton has worked for the group, she has seen people thrive from successful medication. But, with drug testing, no matter what, there is always some risk when it comes to using your body as a guinea pig.

"They're safe, but that doesn't mean things won’t go wrong," said Bolton.


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