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Tuesday, Sep 02, 2014

A solution to increasing diversity in clinical trials in Florida


Clinical trials offer hope and the promise of potential new treatments for patients in the Sunshine State.

Consider, for example, that diabetes impacts nearly 10 percent of Florida’s adults. Today, 76 potential diabetes medicines are being investigated in clinical trials in the state. These innovations have the power to change lives. But without the patients who volunteer to participate in clinical trials, the development of new treatments would not be possible.

Since research has demonstrated that biological differences can influence how people process medicines, the method used to test the safety and effectiveness of potential new medicines should accurately take into account the patient populations that will eventually use them. However, groups such as African-Americans, Asian-Americans and Hispanics are underrepresented in clinical trials.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, Hispanics make up 16 percent of the U.S. population but only 1 percent of clinical trial participants. African-Americans represent 12 percent of the population but only 5 percent of clinical trial participants.

Inclusion of participants from diverse backgrounds furthers research and can help find better treatments and better ways to fight diseases that disproportionately impact these populations.

That’s why the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and the National Minority Quality Forum recently joined together to launch “I’m In,” a first-of-its-kind national campaign to encourage participation in clinical trials by diverse patient populations. The campaign will empower individuals to learn more about clinical trials and the benefits to patients and their communities.

Through the “I’m In” campaign, we will work closely with advocacy organizations, health-care providers and universities throughout Florida to raise awareness about this important issue.

If we can encourage patients to visit the campaign website and use the information to begin a dialogue with their physician about whether or not a clinical trial is right for them, we’ve taken one major step forward.

It will require the commitment of all of us to make a difference in the inclusion of diverse patient populations in clinical trials.

Are you in?

Please visit www.JoinImIn.org for information.

Salvatore (“Salvo”) Alesci, M.D., Ph.D., is vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs at PhRMA, which represents the country’s leading biopharmaceutical companies.

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