For decades, racial and ethnic minorities have been disproportionately underrepresented in clinical trials. Many health issues Such as diabetes and high blood pressure. According to the Robert A. Winn Diversity in Clinical Trials Award Program; 80% of individuals Participants in clinical trials are white, compared to 58% of the general US population, which negatively affects the care provided by people of color.
“If you look nationally, the number of people of color[in clinical trials]is small,” Dr. Robert Winn, director of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Massey Cancer Center, told Yahoo News.
Studies suggest Black Americans represent 13% of the U.S. population, although they make up about 8% of participants in clinical trials, and Hispanic identity For 11% in trials, although they are 16% of the country’s population.
“Not finding that difference in clinical trials deprives us of information that can inform both patients, caregivers and physicians about the appropriate drug that might be best for a given patient,” Maria Apostolaros, the company’s vice president of biopharmaceutical research, told Yahoo News.
John Damonti, president of the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation, says experts say it’s because “a large minority of people in the United States have lost faith in the medical system.” He told Yahoo News, which focuses on health equity.
The most famous form of medical racism began in 1932 when US Public Health Service doctors began the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, where hundreds of black men were used for testing and research.
“Tuskegee is an egregious example, but there have been so many examples of these types of attacks and clinical studies over the years, especially here in the United States,” said Dr. Joshua Budou, MD, a neurologist at New Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. York City told Yahoo News.
But some doctors say that the field of health has changed for the better and the system should close the gap.
“I’ll tell you, at least in the health field, we’ve stepped up that game, people don’t say we’re going to harvest organs, or we’re going to use you as a guinea pig, those days are long gone,” Winn said. “Now that we’re creating treatments and challenges that benefit people of color, we still have this residual insecurity.
Discrimination in health care among racial and ethnic minorities is a problem that continues to plague our society today. In the year According to a 2021 study, more than 40% of African Americans, Native Americans, and Latinos have experienced unfair treatment in the medical field. Brookings Institution.
Along with the lack of trust, doctors say minorities have trouble accessing clinical trials. “We are really depriving people of primary care,” said Budu. “Another practical point of why clinical trial diversity is important is to save a lot of money.”
In the year In 2022, a University of Southern California study found that clinical trials could save lives and money. “Health disparities cost trillions of dollars overall, but improving clinical trial diversity to help reduce health disparities will save billions of dollars,” Budu said.
Dana Goldman, founder of the Schaeffer Center for Health Policy, said, “If 1 percent of health disparities were reduced by improvements in clinical trials, it would save more than $40 billion for diabetes and $60 billion for heart disease.” Economics at USC, He wrote in an article.
According to Winn, In 2020, after the death of George Floyd and the corona virus epidemic, pharmaceutical companies have had a wake-up call about the lack of diversity in clinical trials.
“A lot more pharmaceutical companies, a lot more academic centers are not only spending a lot of money to address this problem, but they’re creating spaces around diversity, equity and inclusion and the importance of that and its role in clinical trials. ” said Winn.
The Food and Drug Administration issued additional guidelines to increase diversity in clinical trials by 2022 and recommended that all trials provide one. Racial and ethnic diversity scheme In the early stages of its clinical development.
“Going forward, achieving greater diversity will be a key focus across the FDA to facilitate better treatments and better ways to fight disease,” said FDA Commissioner Robert Califf. he said in a statement..
In the meantime, doctors say all parts of the healthcare industry must work together to achieve equity in clinical trials. “This means that many stakeholders must come together – patient advocacy groups, hospitals, researchers, patients themselves, companies such as pharmaceutical companies or device manufacturers, as well as the federal government that can develop new drugs,” Budu said. “I think it should be a multi-pronged approach.“