Advertising Clinical Trials


I recently spotted this ad in a men’s room at a pub here in Montreal (quite near the Université de Montréal, in fact). Not the first time I’ve seen an ad seeking participants for a clinical trial, but it’s the first time I’ve seen one a) advertised in a men’s washroom, and b) with the glossy, happy-people look of a beer ad.
It’s from a local company called Algorithme Pharma.

Here’s the translation:

Clinical trial: 18+

Receive $700 to $4000*
*compensation depends upon the type and duration of the study.

Do it for a good cause!
Participate in research on known medicines.

We are currently looking for men and women, light smokers and non-smokers, to participate in a clinical trial.

Many trials are available (during the week or weekend, short or long duration).

Call now!

I don’t have any particular assessment to offer. Surely some people will find this style of ad disturbing. But of course clinical trials like this are a necessity. The money being waved around, well that’s a notoriously double-edged sword: pay too little, and you’re being abusive. Pay too much, and you’re offering unfair inducement.
Some people may also be disturbed by the beer-ad style of the poster: pretty people, smiling brightly. “Participate in a study? Hell yeah!” What does that have to do with science? But ads feature pretty, smiling people because pretty, smiling people are eye-catching. And if the product is a legitimate one (as this one is), and if there’s nothing misleading, then why not?
Mostly, I just found the ad interesting, so I thought I’d share it.

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