Saturday, May 25, 2024
Science Experiment Caused Diarrhea, Don't Tax Me.

Science Experiment Caused Diarrhea, Don’t Tax Me.

Why Taxes on Clinical Trial Compensation Should Go

Clinical trials for the development of lifesaving medical advances are indispensable, but tax on the compensation for healthy human medical volunteers is just bad policy, which disincentivizes socially and economically valuable behavior. In a self-perceived altruistic effort, participants are paid a few thousand dollars to be injected with malaria or take a gulp of germ juice containing, for instance, Shigella flexneri bacteria, which causes dysentery. This is part of a human challenge study and is intended to test an experimental vaccine. These studies have been critical scientific tools in which over 15,000 volunteers have already been exposed to one of dozens of diseases over the years, and not one has died.

Paying clinical trial participants isn’t a welcome idea for some ethicists who fear that overcompensation may lead to undue inducement, where participants may not be able to make an informed decision. Fortunately, there are safe options to guarantee participants’ safety, so they can evaluate the risks of participation as autonomous adults. In a bid to protect economically vulnerable participants, paying people more is perceived as unethical and bad for them, leading to functional price ceilings. Paradoxically, this attitude towards compensation for clinical trial participants disincentivizes social and economically valuable behavior.

Clinical trial compensation must be tax-exempt. A tax break for the right is more lifesaving health research for the government’s dollar for the left. The state is already invested in promoting clinical trials, and taxes on volunteer compensation depress participation, thereby stalling medical progress and undermining the efforts the state already funds. This idea ought to have a cross-ideological approach for it to appeal across the divide.

In conclusion, trials are vital in the development of lifesaving medical advances, and taxes on volunteer compensation inhibit participation, which, in turn, undermines the work of both the state and private-funded trials. The tax on clinical trial compensation must be eliminated for the greater good.

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