Increasing diversity in clinical trials for a more equitable future
We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to be included in our research. That’s especially true for communities that are historically underrepresented in clinical research.
Diversity is a public health issue
It’s our responsibility to recognize any difference in the safety and efficacy of our drugs and vaccines that may exist between different populations of people.
One challenge is that the vast majority of reported clinical trial participants globally identify as white.1,2 We are working to ensure our trials are inclusive by design and represent the diversity of the patient populations who are living with the diseases we aim to treat.
Why people might hesitate
There are many reasons why an individual may not participate in a clinical trial, including mistrust of the healthcare system, stigma, lack of access to information, financial and time constraints, and fear. And structural barriers like socioeconomic status, narrow eligibility criteria, and forms of unconscious bias, may also exclude people from participating in clinical trials.3
It is our mission to address as many of these barriers as possible at the earliest stages of study design to advance toward a world where the research we conduct and the data we generate is more representative of the patients we aim to help.
We aim to increase, year on year, the diversity of our clinical studies through making meaningful changes that last.
Well before we start a trial, we develop a holistic overview of the patient experience and disease demographics with the indications we intend to treat, which form the basis for our enrollment goals.
Together with input from trusted patient stakeholders within local communities, we apply these insights throughout the clinical trial ecosystem, from protocol development, eligibility criteria and site selection to recruitment and retention materials.
Helping patients break barriers in their own communities
Our teams are taking concrete actions to expand opportunities for people from historically underrepresented communities to participate in clinical research and work toward a future where all trials reflect the diversity of the people most affected by the diseases we are studying.
We’re pushing the boundaries of technology to achieve our diversity and inclusion goals while providing transparency into everything we do. We’re not just helping existing sites recruit and retain diverse participants – we’re also finding and setting up new trial sites that are more convenient for the groups we want to include.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2020) Drug Trials Snapshots. Summary Report. Published online 21 February. Accessed 30 September 2022
- Alegria M, et al. (2021) Reporting of participant race, sex, and socioeconomic status in randomized clinical trials in general medical journals, 2015 vs 2019. JAMA Netw Open. 4:e2111516; doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.11516
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2022) FDA Takes Important Steps to Increase Racial and Ethnic Diversity in Clinical Trials. Press release 13 April. Accessed 30 September 2022