WASHINGTON — The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and the National Minority Quality Forum announced on Wednesday a first-of-its-kind national campaign to help increase diversity in clinical trials.
The “I'm In” campaign will aim to raise awareness about the importance of clinical research and encourage greater participation by diverse patient populations to help researchers develop potential new life-saving medicines. Partnerships with patient advocacy organizations, provider groups, individual physicians, clinical trials sponsors and researchers will help to drive campaign awareness and involvement.
"PhRMA and our member companies are committed to raising awareness and increasing participation in clinical trials, particularly among historically underrepresented populations," stated John Castellani, president and CEO of PhRMA. "Through this collaboration of healthcare leaders, we are taking a major step forward to help reduce health disparities through greater inclusiveness in clinical research."
Developing new medicines is a lengthy and complex process, relying heavily on volunteer participation to evaluate potential therapies for safety and effectiveness in clinical studies. Without the patients who volunteer to participate in clinical trials, the development of new medicines would not be possible.
However, such groups as African-Americans, Asian-Americans and Hispanics are significantly underrepresented in clinical research. According to the Food & Drug Administration, African-Americans represent 12% of the U.S. population, but only 5% of clinical trial participants; Hispanics make up 16% of the population, but only 1% of clinical trial participants. Inclusion of individuals of varied races, ethnicities, ages, gender and sexual orientation in clinical trials can help to prevent disparities in the evaluation of potential new medicines.
"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," stated Gary Puckrein, president and CEO of the National Minority Quality Forum. "Through the ‘I'm In’ campaign, new online resources, such as the Clinical Trial Engagement Network, will be introduced to empower individuals to learn more about clinical trials and the benefits of participating in clinical research."
“I'm In” will support the build-up of the National Minority Quality Forum's Clinical Trial Engagement Network, a solution to help accelerate the inclusion of underrepresented populations in clinical trials. Authorized users will be able to identify potential clinical trial participants by utilizing ZIP code level mapping of disease clusters, and simultaneously identifying and connecting points of care and community resources that can assist with site selection and patient recruitment.