Diversity in clinical trials has always been an issue in medical research. Last year, I wrote an article stating this very message. 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 effective 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.
In an effort to change this narrative, the “Yale School of Medicine and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have agreed to collaborate on a range of far-reaching science-based initiatives. Through trainings, fellowships, internships, research, and education, the agreement will foster the exchange of scientific information between the institutions and improve human health.” Through the partnership, both parties are looking to establish a model that other areas can follow to increase minority participation.
“Diverse participation in clinical trials is important to help ensure medical products are safe and effective for all, said Captain Richardae Araojo, associate commissioner for Minority Health at the FDA. “The FDA’s Office of Minority Health engages a broad range of stakeholders in our efforts to increase racial and ethnic minority participation in clinical trials. We are very enthusiastic about this opportunity to collaborate with Yale and contribute to the work they are doing to advance minority health.”