The main subject of discussion in my family was the turmoil about the medical experiments in France.
Healthy people participated in a trial to test painmedication from a firm in Portugal.
The main content was Cannabis, they said, or something cannabis related.
The testing organisation didn't know the specifics of the substance, so when things went wrong and the testpersons showed problems they didn't know what to do.
Result: 1 person braindead, 5 others critically ill.
A few hours after the media reported this a minister stated the medication didn't contain cannabis and the French paper Le Monde reported that the experiment was testing medication against moodchanges for Parkinson patients.
Before medication is tested on humans it's most of the time tested on animals, after...yes after a theoretical model has been submitted in which clearly is stated how the medication works or is supposed to be working.
When it has been tested on animals and is clearly and without doubt working, and working better than existing medications, it needs to be submitted to another commission which decides if the experiment is allowed to be done with humans.
This involves healthy humans who volunteer to be test subject.
They are examined thoroughly before the experiments start and are watched closely. If possible in a clinical setting.
To find enough people they are paid.
When the testresults from these experiments are again showing that they work and work better than existing medication the results are again submitted to a commission which decides that the meds can be used in a trial on real patients.
People are asked if they want to participate when it's expected they can gain improvement from the medication.
In some tests also people who couldn't be helped by other meds are included.
When these tests, on improvement on the short and long term and side-effects, are done, another independent commission decides if these meds are allowed on the market.
Sometimes other tests are included in this sequence.
From this we can draw the conclusion that these meds were not researched very far, as they were used on volunteer healthy people, but had proven that they maybe could benefit humans.
We live in a university city and we have here a research institute.
So regularly we're confronted with calls for healthy subjects or volunteer patients.
None of us has ever participated, simply because we know that even when animal research shows no bad effect, a substance can cause havoc in humans.
But to be honest: I have been tempted by the money.
To earn more than 2000 euro by laying in bed and feeling a bit strange because of medication I'm using while I don't have the disease has been quite a nice idea in times when I had almost no money.
But the risk... the risks....
I'm happy none of the children ever contemplated taking part.
Would you help the medical profession to find a cure for something by volunteering in medical substance research?
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