TouchPoint Digital, an agency hired by British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, have been dangling a financial carrot to hard up students in an effort to persuade then to enroll in clinical trials.
Graduate Fog, a graduate careers website, have published the advertisement [disguised as a guest post proposal] that sees TouchPoint Digital, on behalf of Glaxo, entice students with cash incentives to take part in clinical trials.
Lines such as, "You could earn up to £2000 per trail [sic] for up to 4 trials per year", and "Register your interest in a clinical trials company and you'll be sent an application pack. Once you have filled this out, and sent it back, you will be asked to take part in a free medical check. Normally a medical check can cost from £150 upwards so getting one free is a perk of participating." [Fig 1]
When rumbled, after Graduate Fog went public, Glaxo acted swiftly and, according to the Wall Street Journal's Ed Silverman, have sacked the "consultant who solicited college graduates".
Isn't this always the way with Glaxo? Only be seen to act when they are caught red-handed.
This isn't the first time GlaxoSmithKline have been caught enticing potential consumers of their products. In the past they have enticed doctors with cash payments and lavish gifts to get them to prescribe more of their drugs.
Back in 2002 GSK lured patients in Australia with FREE counselling sessions...but there was one small catch. Those patients had to prove that they had first dispensed a prescription for Aropax, a drug better known as Paxil in the US and Seroxat in the UK. The promotional push was called 'The A Plus Project'
I was fortunate enough to get my hands on that particular promotion [see video]