There’s a growing trend whereby patients have to pay to be in a clinical trial. This is now widely referred to as “pay-to-play”.
Proponents of this idea point toward potential benefits in the form of patients gaining access to innovative therapies. They also argue that this approach provides a much-needed funding mechanism for the trials and that it could lead to more insurance coverage of therapies in development.
Opponents of pay-play-play argue it is unethical to require a patient to pay (sometimes large sums of money) to be a guinea pig to get a still experimental therapy that could do no good or even do harm. They also point to the risk that pay-to-play encourages more fly-by-night operations such as the dubious clinics in the stem cell field.
Is play-to-play worth the potential risks? Is it a trap? Is it instead liberating and helpful to patients?
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