After a clinical trial
Even with proper implementation of these strategies, to create a lasting impact and sustained recruitment of diverse patients into clinical trials, sponsors and other stakeholders may need to maintain ongoing engagement with diverse communities. This continual investment, in the form of collecting formalized post-trial feedback, conducting community awareness and health literacy events, and providing continuing education and training programs for investigators and site staff, will form the foundation of an ongoing dialogue between communities and the industry.
Making clinical trial diversity a reality
The biopharmaceutical and health care industries must collectively prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and center their strategies and initiatives on communities. Responses to the EY-Parthenon survey indicate there may be a lack of prioritization and implementation of DEI programs in the industry. While there has been broad recognition of the underrepresentation of minorities in clinical research, only about 54% of surveyed patients who also work for clinical trial sponsors (N=30) indicate that they have programs in place specifically to address DEI.
Further, the current approaches of the organizations that have programs focused on enhancing clinical trial diversity have not been viewed as successfully addressing the targeted inequities. Less than half of non-white survey respondents believe that positive progress has been made toward creating more diverse clinical trials, and even fewer white respondents report positive progress (Figure 6).
These results suggest that the industry may need to rely on novel strategies going forward to make sustainable and impactful change. These strategies include increasing knowledge and awareness, improving access to trials and continuing industry engagement — all through a community-centered approach.
Following through with these initiatives has the potential to create a win-win-win scenario for patients, the sponsors and the health care ecosystem overall.
- Win for patients and communities: more equitable access to life saving therapeutics
- Win for sponsors: collection of data that more accurately reflects the impact of their novel therapeutics programs on the intended treatment populations, while also preempting action by regulatory bodies
- Win for the health care ecosystem overall: patients and communities develop meaningful, ongoing and mutually beneficial relationships with health care providers, likely leading to increased patient access, sustained community engagement and improved health care outcomes
Ongoing dialogue between patients and industry cultivates trust and offers communities the opportunity to take a more active role in clinical research. Ultimately, this trust can build a foundation for a sustained impact and improved patient outcomes.