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Lack of diversity in clinical trials

When it comes to clinical trials, America does not have the best history in regards to African American.  The most famous example came under the Tuskegee Experiment where 600 black men were infected with syphilis over a 40 year period without their knowledge or consent and were never treated even after penicillin became an effective treatment for syphilis.  With this in mind, its no wonder why clinical trials struggle to recruit African Americans.  Despite the negative history, blacks are needed for research purposes.

According to the American Diabetes Association, “African Americans are 1.7 times more likely to have diabetes compared to whites. Yet they comprised only 3 percent of the clinical trial participants for Adlyxin (lixisenatide), an injectable drug from Sanofi Pharmaceutical Co. approved by the FDA last year for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes.”  Due to the lack of representation, it is hard to tell how effect the drug will be if sold to a larger audience.  Although participation among African Americans has increased, up to 7% in 2016 from 5% in 2015 according to the FDA, more diversity is still needed.

Still organizations are trying new ways to get minorities and women to join up. “The breast cancer support group Sisters’ Journey in New Haven is trying to build trust between women of color and the medical community through conversations at hair salons, diaper depots and churches” as an example.

“When you’re asked (to enroll in a clinical trial) by your hair dresser, your church member, that’s where the trust comes from,” said Dawn White-Bracey, president of Sisters’ Journey. “One of our members said, ‘You may trust your hairdresser more than you trust your doctor.’ ”


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