Just hanging out in a dorm like setting, listening to music, browsing the internet. Checking out DVD’s, playing a little pool(which I suck at) a little ping pong. Flirting with nurses.
I am a human Guinea pig. I am being paid to participate in a clinical research trial as a test subject. I’d love to tell you that I am now hallucinating, drooling, talking to myself and covered with hives from all the adverse side effects,but that’s actually not the case.
I feel really good and well rested actually. I’ve had no stress and plenty of time to catch up on my sleep and then some. Its so easy it seems like it must be some kind of scam. If there is a scam, here is what it is:
These drugs don’t really do much of anything. How many people do you know have been taking some pill prescribed by a doctor everyday for years and now have forgotten what it was for? I get paid to take one of these pills one time.The purpose of these drugs is to make money for Pharmaceutical companies and their purpose has a shelf life. After a while the patents expire and they become generic. So these companies need to fiddle around with a few ingredients, roll out a new drug and get the revenue stream flowing again. The FDA requires testing, first with animals and then humans and that’s where I come in.
They need healthy people to test these drugs on. So you show up, after being qualified with a phone interview, they give you a physical, take some blood samples, and then call you a few days later to let you know if you made it into the study.
A few days after that you show up with your overnight bag, change of clothes, tooth brush etc. and you are well on your way to getting a fat wad of cash! But first There are a few hurdles to get through.
The Phone interview:
This is what they want to hear: You are 100% healthy and have never had anything wrong with you ever. You have never been sick, never been injured, never had a disease and aren’t allergic to anything. If you want to get past the phone interview, that’s what you tell them. So basically they will rattle off all these questions, in a monotone, such as “Have you ever had a Sexually Transmitted disease…Have you ever been in a coma? and you will be answering “No, Nope, nope, no..”
I am actually a pretty healthy person. I am not telling you to lie, but if you had some problem in the past that you no longer have now, its better they not know. They have no way of finding out. Your medical records are confidential. For example, a guy I met in a study had asthma as a kid, and made the mistake of telling them that and he hardly gets in any studies.
You can’t smoke either. Actually you can, its just that when you show up you can’t have any nicotine in your system, or any illicit drugs, or oddly enough grapefruit. You won’t be able to smoke while you are there either.
During the physical they take your vital signs, blood pressure temperature, you give a blood sample and a urine sample. They weigh you and measure your height to determine your body mass index, which usually has to be below 30. Its pretty good physical, so if you don’t have insurance, its a good way to find out how healthy you are. This is how I found out last year that I had high blood pressure and high cholesterol and possibly a borderline fasting glucose level. (Which could be a sign of pre-diabetes) So since then I’ve lost 25 lbs and adopted a much better diet and now I am back in.
The Way I lost $3000.000 once:
I smoked a cigar the night before my physical. Banned from that particular place for a year after that, because to be considered a non smoker you have to have not smoked for a year. Of course you could always lie if you were doing a study and had just quit a week earlier, but in my case they had proof.
Once you get through the first physical and check in for the study you have another physical.
At check in they go through your bags. You can’t have any contraband, like breath mints, dangerous weapons such as pen knives or oddly enough condoms. Can’t bring condoms. hooking up with other Guinea pigs during the study is verboten. Seen it happen though, even between guinea pigs and female staff.
When you check in for day zero, look around. These people are your competitors. Probably they called in, say, 20 people for the study but only 15 are needed. So you do another physical and the doctors pick the 15 healthiest ones and label them 1-15 on the “dose grid” Number one is usually one healthy motherfucker. Often number one literally glows with health and often has a permanent smirk because he or she will always get to eat and get procedures done first for the duration of the study.
Out of the 20, a couple probably won’t show up. One or two will possibly test positive for drugs or alcohol so they will get sent home right away, but a couple will be chosen as alternates. As an alternate you stay over night in case someone on the dose grid gets sick or can’t continue the study for some reason. If you find yourself an alternate It might be a good idea to engage in psychological warfare against a chosen mark on the dose grid. Maybe its their first time. You could drop stories about all the horrible side effects you’ve seen, like permanent irreversible impotence and massive fatal nose warts. Maybe they will freak out and withdraw and you will be in like Flynn!
Or on dose day they won’t need you and will send you home and mail you a check in a week or so for $100.00-$250.00 for your trouble. Which is better than a kick in the head.
Dose day isn’t really so bad. You take a pill or maybe get an IV or drink a liquid and then they take your blood a bunch of times in ascending intervals, to trace it through your system to see how fast your body gets rid of the drug. Usually you have to sit on these comfy chairs most of the day. And the nurses come around and take vital signs, blood, do ECG’s. 15 minutes later, then a half hour, an hour later, 2 hours etc.
You can read books or magazines, draw in your sketchbook, knit, crochet, or just shoot the shit with the people around you.
Other Guinea Pigs.
Its a pretty diverse group of people you see in these studies. Its often racially diverse by design because that is what the Sponsors want for the studies. A lot of college students. Also creative types, such as artists, writers and musicians that need cash. A few tweakers that learn how to game the system and get in after they detox. There really are not a lot of people with serious problems, because they usually aren’t healthy enough to get in, but occasionally you get some young healthy ex-cons fresh out of prison. The Staff try to put people together that they think will get along as room mates, which is a good idea. Usually four to a room with bunk beds, but often they only put two to room if they have can fit it.
Occasionally I meet people I really hit it off with, such as writers or artists, or people that share intellectual interests. Sometimes, I get in with a bunch of young guys that just want to play video games and watch sports all day. I usually bring a laptop and keep to myself if there is no one I really want to hang out with. Not that many women seem to do studies. Most studies are for healthy males, and I think also more women are afraid(or too smart) to do studies, or they have kids and can’t get a baby sitter for the stay. But the women that do get in automatically move up three points on the hotness scale and become really popular.
WARNING! MAY BE HABIT FORMING!
I’ve done about a dozen of these studies, over the course of 5 years in just two different places depending what state I was living in at the time. There are professional Guinea pigs that make $30-40,000.00 a year flying around the country doing studies. The guy that runs that website does just that. I’ve heard of people making twice that, which is certainly possible. Its possibly if you go from one study to the next and get lucky, moving from Facility to Facility. You are supposed to wait 30 days, to “wash out” between each study, but if you go from one company to another company, they have no way of knowing. Your medical records are confidential and they don’t compare notes.
The reason I have never traveled just to do studies, is mostly because I am 41(most studies are for people 18-45) and have borderline high BMI for getting into studies, so I am usually further down the dose grid. I’d hate to fly out to another state and get a hotel for a few days waiting to screen and then not get in and have to fly back, or else end up living in that state for a while. But with a little luck it might be a fun way to see the country. Perhaps, do a study, travel around with the money, see the sights, and then do another one when you run out of cash. I’ve talked to people who have done that. It works best if you aren’t simultaneously paying rent somewhere while you do this.
So I usually do studies when I am totally broke. Then sometimes I will go back and do another one 30 days later and then after that I will have gotten a job.
It a good thing to do if you are broke and need to get a couple, three grand really fast. Once you do a study its really hard to do stupid shit for close minimum wage again. Not many jobs pay you $3000.00 for doing nothing for two weeks. Its addicting. But the best thing to use them for is a foot stone to help you become self employed doing something you love.