Medical research may identify a potentially valuable treatment that must be tested in a rigorous experiment. Usually such experiments are funded by federal agencies like the National Institutes of Health, after a careful review, or by the company that has developed the treatment. But what if a researcher has identified a promising treatment but can’t secure funding for an experiment? Could patients–potential research patients–be asked to pay to participate? Many seriously ill persons are desperate for a new approach that might restore themselves or a loved one to good health.
Should such patients be allowed to “pay to play” if they would like to? Would it help to advance science?
What types of social science experiments might some people be willing to pay to participate in? What are the potential advantages and disadvantages of such a funding approach?