When we take a medication, we are essentially betting that it will not raise the probability of a poor outcome but produce a good result. We improve our odds by testing novel therapies in clinical trials to make sure they are safe and efficacious. Clinical trials also establish new science for the management of diseases.

Addressing the gap

To improve health outcomes for diverse populations, it’s essential to begin by eliminating health disparities. These can be considered a persistent pattern of poor health outcomes for one definable patient group when another patient group with the exact same disease or condition has a better outcome.

Sometimes health disparities are a function of the fact that diseases present differently in different populations. Therefore, we need a variety of tested medical options so we have the right medicines for the right patients.

By the numbers

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), increased diversity in clinical trials helps researchers find better treatments and better ways to fight diseases that disproportionately impact certain populations. In particular, women and ethnic minorities have been underrepresented in clinical trials. Despite comprising 12 percent of the U.S. population, African Americans make up only 5 percent of participants. Hispanics represent 16 percent of the U.S. population, but only 1 percent of participants.

Increased diversity in clinical trials will help ensure that the process used to test the safety and effectiveness of new potential medications accurately takes into account the patient populations that will eventually use them and helps increase scientific knowledge that may result in medical innovations.