The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America’s (PhRMA) national “I’m In” campaign goals were recently announced at the National Minority Quality Forum, in an effort to underscore the importance of clinical research and inspire the participation of a greater diversity of patients. Clinical trials are a critical step in the research and development area of cutting-edge drugs for the world’s most deadly diseases. These studies generate the safety and efficacy data needed to enhance the knowledge of newly developed interventions. It is a complex process that relies on volunteer participation. Without this participation, the development of new trusty medicines would not be possible.
During the presentation, John Castellani, President and CEO of PhRMA, commented that his company is committed to raising participation in clinical trials among historically underrepresented populations: “Through this collaboration of health care leaders, we are taking a major step forward to help reduce health disparities through greater inclusiveness in clinical research.”
Dr. Gary Puckrein, president and CEO of the National Minority Quality Forum noted that “According to the FDA, increased diversity in clinical trials could help researchers find better ways to fight diseases that disproportionately impact certain populations, and may be important for the safe and effective use of new therapies.” Yet, there are two major ethnic groups underrepresented in clinical research; African Americans and Hispanics. The report highlighted that the African-American community makes up twelve percent of the U.S. population, but only five percent of participants in clinical trials. More shocking are the numbers of the Hispanic group, which represent sixteen percent of the population, but only one percent of clinical trial participants.
Dr. Carlos Cardenas, CEO of Doctors Hospital in Edinburg, Texas, has reasoned that the lack of representation in clinical trials among the Hispanic population is less about discrimination, and more about logistics: while Mexican-Americans and people born in Puerto Rico are more prone to suffer from diabetes and have a higher rate of disease in several key indications, the clinical trial industry still lacks the means to reach the Hispanic community effectively in recruiting participants.”What we’re seeking is to get these research centers closer to the places where our Hispanic communities are,” he said.
Through the new I’m In campaign, there will be a new set of guidelines to better strategize for getting the word out about clinical trials in both the African-American and hispanic communities, in order to further balance participation.