If you really want to earn some money in these hard times, one vaccine trial specialist company, Synexus, is offering a £100 reward to sentence a friend to death, or perhaps even a fate worse than death. A brochure has been published with all the features of a Western Outlaw notice that might have been nailed to a wooden post in a dusty cowboy town. It depicts seven unsavoury looking characters, their faces masked.
WANTED: Dead or Alive
The glossy leaflet does not quite put it like that though it pretty well amounts to the same thing. “Refer a friend and receive £100” is the heading with further explanation: “If the person you recommend then goes on to participate in a study, we will give you £100 as a reward for your referral.”
Going for the “refer a friend” option I rang a Synexus number 0800 470 2449. After some five minutes or more I got bored listening to the spooky music, so I tried another number 0800 470 2488. The recorded message for keypad options and the spooky music were the same so I put the phone on speaker mode anticipating a long wait. Amazingly I did not have to wait more than three minutes before speaking to an operative, Alex.
I told her that I did not want to take the test myself but would like to recommend a friend who was really, really keen. She explained that you can only refer a friend if you’ve taken part yourself. After emphasising how keen my friend was she said you can get him to phone the centre but I had to tell her I did not know where he was.
His name is Bill Gates I told her. The phone went silent. “You know who Bill Gates is?” Yes, she thought so. I gave a brief biography and we had a bit of crack, as the Irish say.Incentivised Vaccine Trials: Kill (or maim) a friend and get £100