“Systemic racism is as real as any disease,” said Rebecca Marklund recently on a PhRMA blog. “Diversifying clinical trials is a critical avenue for change, and PhRMA and its members are committed to building trust and addressing the systematic issues that prevent black communities from enrolling in clinical trials so that those who wish to participate can “Adds Marklund, who leads the equity initiative for the trading group PhRMA Pharmaindustrie.
Marklund cites recent PhRMA public opinion research, which provides better insight into some of the factors that contribute to distrust and getting in the way of ensuring that black Americans have the information they need to make health decisions. “Currently, only one in ten black voters (13%) has taken part in a clinical trial or knows someone who has taken part in a clinical study for new drugs or treatments,” says Marklund.
Improving representation in clinical trials is critical to tackling diseases that disproportionately affect Black Americans, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and childhood asthma. When PhRMA surveyed black voters this month, 89% said It is important to combat these diseases with diversified clinical trials. Respondents named heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer as diseases they would like to see priority for safe and diverse clinical trial research.
“We must continue to aggressively address the underlying systemic prejudices and challenges caused by historical errors and build community-wide trust to improve patient outcomes for underserved populations,” says Marklund. “Various clinical studies accurately reflecting the intended patient population can help provide people with access to potentially life-saving drugs and provide evidence that better reflects the patients who are most likely to use the drug if approved.”
Edited by Michael Causey