On June 22, during The Atlantic’s Health Equity Summit, PhRMA hosted a conversation on clinical trial diversity. PhRMA Chief Operating Officer Lori Reilly and Genentech Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer Quita Highsmith discussed how to build greater trust among underserved communities, including communities of color, and how the industry is working to increase clinical trial diversity.
It is critical that all patients, including historically underserved racial and ethnic communities, have access to medicines. One way to reduce barriers to health care access and enable everyone to benefit from new medicines is to ensure that clinical trials are diverse and inclusive and include participants representative of the population the medicine intends (or aims) to treat. The biopharmaceutical industry has been working with patients, communities, regulatory authorities, health care practitioners, academics and policymakers to enhance diversity in clinical trials, so the clinical trial population testing medicines better reflect the patients that will use the new therapies and medicines should they are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
To this end, PhRMA and its member companies have voluntarily adopted first-ever industry-wide principles on clinical trials diversity, adding a new chapter to the already existing Principles on Conduct Clinical Trials & Communication of Clinical Trial Results. The new clinical trial diversity principles are designed to build trust, reduce barriers to clinical trial access, enhance an understanding of drug effects in diverse patient populations, and promote the sharing of information on policies and practices to increase clinical trial diversity.
Equity is critical to the health and well-being of diverse racial and ethnic communities, and it remains essential to a robust ecosystem of innovation. A new report released earlier this week by PhRMA spotlighted the more than 800 medicines in development aiming to address the diseases and conditions that affect racial and ethnic communities at a higher rate and are also associated with worse COVID-19 outcomes. These medicines in development and clinical trial principles are part of America’s biopharmaceutical companies continued push for necessary systemic and long-term change to better meet the needs of underserved communities in America.
To learn more about the PhRMA Equity Initiative and PhRMA’s commitment to inclusion, visit phrma.org/Equity.
Andrew Powaleny is Senior Director of Public Affairs at PhRMA and leads the organization's scientific communications. Before joining PhRMA in 2015, he worked in public affairs for a small firm in Washington, DC and served as Deputy Press Secretary for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Andrew came to Washington, D.C. via Connecticut with a degree from Eastern Connecticut State University where he majored in public policy and government. Andrew is active as a runner and volunteer with the DC Front Runners; most recently serving on its Board of Directors for three years as co-race director. He is also a member of the NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists and mentors students through his alumni association with The Fund for American Studies. Andrew is passionate about scientific innovation, especially for mental illness, and his heroes are the men and women of America’s biopharmaceutical research companies.