Article | October 12, 2021

The Missing Minority: Understanding The Three Main Barriers To Diversity In Today's Clinical Trials

Source: Biorasi

To date, U.S. clinical trials represent a vast range of therapeutic indications and formats – from rare disease studies to common ailments, and from intensive on-site testing to simple, remote participation. However, historically, these studies share one key similarity in that the patients are predominantly non-Hispanic white males. Statistics from the FDA spotlight the disparity, with African American patients representing only seven percent of trial participants, Hispanics just 13 percent, and Native Americans and Asian Americans at significantly lower, single-digit numbers as well.

While there are socioeconomic factors contributing to the reasons behind the lack of diversity, the exclusion of minority populations in clinical trials can be a scientifically flawed misstep. By focusing on a single demographic, clinical research findings become limited, and by ignoring other representative populations ‘unexpected’ side effects may be more commonplace while treatment success levels will vary.21 It should also be noted that rural and LGBTQ+ communities also suffer from lack of representation in clinical research.

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