Subject to Interpretation
- Pharmaceutical companies offer financial incentives to researchers to fill drug studies quickly with large numbers of patients who may not be strictly suited to the trial.
- These inappropriate study subjects skew the results or cause trials to fail, and promising drugs never reach the patients they could have helped.
- The rising costs of these failed trials carry downstream to health care consumers and taxpayers.
One evening in the emergency room, I was asked to evaluate a patient requesting admission to the psychiatric unit. Gia was waiting for me, looking pale but fit. (All individuals identified only by their first name have been assigned pseudonyms, and their identifying details have been changed.) She had heard that the hospital was recruiting inpatients for a study of bipolar disorder and wanted to participate. She described herself as moody—upbeat for a few hours, then down, then happy again.
“How do you feel right now?” I asked.
This article was originally published with the title Studying Drugs in All the Wrong People.