When Will Clinical Trials Finally Reflect Diversity?


Since the late 1990s, the number of countries contributing to the clinical-trial data used by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve drugs has almost doubled. Yet this global expansion of study locations has not been accompanied by an equivalent increase in the racial diversity of people enrolled. In 1997, 92% of the participants in these trials were white; in 2014, we found that this figure was still nearly 86%.

A growing body of literature indicates that the effectiveness of a drug, the likelihood of it causing side effects and the nature of those effects can all vary between people of different ancestry. And funders and researchers have repeatedly said that clinical trials should include more participants from ethnic minorities.


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