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Clinical Trials And The Lure Of Fast Cash -- What You Should Know

by Helene Pavlov, M.D., FACR, Radiologist-in-Chief

Huffington Post—December 28, 2009

My daughter is in middle school and we are already talking about what makes a healthy teenager and adult. This education, like washing your hands, needs to be a routine part of their being. Concern about health is especially important when a child goes off to school or college. We hope our continued example by action and verbal advice will help her continue to make us proud with good grades and also stay away from potential dangerous situations.

One such potential danger is medical researchers looking for healthy students hoping to make a fast buck.

Medical research companies often focus on college campuses in order to recruit healthy students for phase three testing of drugs before they make their way to the FDA for approval. Why not? College kids are an easy target. Away from home for the first time, faced with insufficient spending money or reacting to peer pressure because "all their friends are doing it," these self-confident but naive youngsters are lured in as a pharma company's human guinea pigs.

Don't get me wrong. Testing for the efficacy of a potential new treatment is an extremely important part of the process. In fact, the testing and approval by the FDA of various treatments has led to some major medical breakthroughs in every field of medicine. Many physicians will even recommend that their patients with certain conditions enter into clinical trials in the hopes that a new drug or treatment may help them.

So how do you determine whether or not a clinical trial for a new treatment is right for you? Two very easy ways. The first is to get the facts.

Read the full story at huffingtonpost.com.


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