Tuesday, May 8, 2012


I always welcome easy ways to make extra money, who doesn't, right?

Well, today I will share with you how I will make $720, part time, in the next two months.

I have been asked to participate in a clinical research study sponsored by a pharmaceutical company (I can't disclose the name for confidentiality reasons).  The purpose of this study is to test a patch and to see if the patch causes irritation to the skin when applied multiples times to the same area. This study will also evaluate whether a skin rash will develop, they call it sensitization reaction.  Approximately 270 adults,18 to 64 years of age will participate in this study at different clinical facilities. Fifty one people will be participating in my group.

To be eligible, you must attend a screening visit. Very simple. They just check your blood pressure, a urine test, and they ask you numerous questions about your medical history.  Although simple, a lot of people that were there with me, did not pass this test.  You also need to sign some waivers and a consent stating that you are doing this voluntarily.

Obviously, they provide you with specific instructions that you should follow.  For example, avoiding the use of oils, lotions or creams around the site of the patches, avoiding steam baths, hot-tubs, swimming and excessive soaking or wetting of the patch.

Once you pass the screening test, you are given a series of appointments and all it takes is getting to your appointments on time.  In their lab, they will place a patch on one of your arms and at your next appointment they will remove it, observing the area where the patch was placed and around the patch.  Then they will place a new patch and the procedure will repeat at each visit.

The research starts in May and will end in mid-June with a two-week break in June.  The appointments are scattered during the two months.  One week you may have two appointments and another week three or just one.  Each appointment will take approximately a maximum of two hours.

The pay works like this:

If you complete the entire study, you will be paid $445.00. At the end of each visit you will be eligible for $20 as a partial payment of your total study payment. The remaining study payment is given at the conclusion of the final visit. You will also receive a bonus of $75 if you complete the study and follow all their regulations.  If you complete Part 2 of the study, you will be paid another $200.

The catch is, well it's really not a catch, that you must timely attend all your scheduled appointments.  If you miss one appointment, you are disqualified. As we all know, things happen, so not all the people that was originally accepted will complete the study. Other people will want to leave the study for whatever reason.  At any rate, you will be paid an appropriate amount based on the extent of participation.

Yesterday was my screening appointment and today was my first visit to get my patch.  It took close to 4 hours because they had to collect urine samples again and review one more time our medical history.  My only complaint so far is that they should have told us that we were going to have another urine test today.  I say this because I didn't drink any liquids precisely because I didn't want to use their bathroom.  So after being in line for a while, when it was my turn, I entered the bathroom and  - n a d a.  It's hard to pee when you have not drunk any liquids and even harder when you have a nurse in the bathroom staring at you during the process.  Obviously, I didn't seat on that toilet, so you can imagine the scenario, me trying to pee, nothing coming out and a nurse standing there waiting for me.

I was a little concerned that I would miss the study because I could not provide my urine sample.  The nurse kindly asked me to go to the seating area and to drink a lot of water since the line was very long and I still had time. I did that, but felt embarrassed about my inability to pee.  I also was was a little mad because I felt that was something they had to tell us the day before.  Then I realized that a few other people had the same problem. Things were going slowly, so about two hours later, I was able to provide my urine sample.  I was never so happy to pee in my life.

They offered lunch - a Subway sandwich and a soda. I was lucky that I was not hungry because all the sandwiches were ham sandwiches in white bread and I don't eat that. This is another area where I think there's room for improvement. With so many different sandwiches that Subway has, to just bring ham sandwiches assuming that everybody likes ham, was a wrong assumption.  

The staff was friendly and accommodating and very appreciative of our participation in the study. There were all sorts of people, all races and gender, but I could tell the majority were low income people. Everybody behaved well and patiently waited to be called.  Some people were reading, others texting, some talking to each other and some were just seating quietly.

When I saw the first person that came out with the patch on her arm, I was surprised to see that it was bigger than I had anticipated.  Below the patch, they make a square with tape, so, basically, it's almost like having two patches.  I will have to wear short leave blouses until June, otherwise everywhere I go people will be asking me "what's that?"

Although on the surface, this study seems to be simple, it does have a number of appointments on different days and hours, so to do this, you need a very flexible schedule.

Today, I got my first $20, success!  They pay you in cash and ask you to sign a receipt.  By then I was so hungry that I used part of the money to pay for my dinner.

I think this is a cool way of making a little extra money.  There's no medication on the patch, so there is no risk of secondary effects.  Of course, not all studies are this simple.  I remember that last year this same people called me for one study that paid $3,000.  Sounds fantastic right?  Well, I didn't think so.  Some days, I had to stay overnight at their facility and eat strictly what they served me.  No problem, for $3000 I was willing to do that.  The major problem was that the study required multiple blood draws, sometimes twice a day, and I knew that I could not handle that.  So, I told them that I was not available. I am terrified of needles.  Just having a blood test once a year during my physical exam is more than enough.

Well, I'll see how this goes for me.  I hope that I don't get any skin reaction from the patch and that nothing happens that will prevent me from completing my study.  If something happens, oh well, I have nothing to lose.  I like new experiences and this one will be just that.  For now, all I know is that whenever I pass by a mirror at home and see my patch, I laugh at myself thinking about the strange things that I do.

Take a look at my patch.

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