Why Minority Participation in Clinical Trials Matters

A new infographic shows massive health disparities among common
disease states, and serves as a renewed call for greater diversity in
clinical trials.

NORTHBROOK, Ill.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#ContinuumClinical–Before the middle of this century, one out of every two Americans will
be a person of color or a person of color who speaks Spanish, according
to U.S.
Census Bureau projections
. This fact takes on special significance
since the FDA declared 2016 the “Year
of Diversity
in Clinical Trials.”

, a healthcare research and communications company that
works with pharmaceutical companies to market and recruit patients for
clinical trials, together with leading multicultural marketing expert
Sheila Thorne, president and CEO of Multicultural
Healthcare Marketing Group
, have created a new infographic that they
hope will help to illustrate further the importance of increasing
diversity in clinical trials.

“With Americans living much longer, healthier lives due to better
preventative care, technology and improved access to healthcare,” says
Sheila Thorne, “there is renewed urgency to make sure that people of
color not only have increased access to care, but also have increased
representation in pharmaceutical clinical trials.”

Last year Continuum partnered with Sheila Thorne/MHMG to help
pharmaceutical companies recruit more diverse patient populations,
especially for certain disease states that disproportionately affect
people of color.

Minority participation in clinical trials in the U.S. has a troubled
history, dating back to the Tuskegee
nearly 83 years ago in which the U.S. Public Health
Service allowed 399 black men with syphilis go without the benefit of
penicillin therapy.

“This chapter in our history only partly explains why African Americans
remain reluctant to participate in clinical trials,” states Thorne. “But
there are cultural differences beyond this, such as how people of color
utilize healthcare services, medications and even talk about health.”

According to the FDA, African Americans comprise 14% of the U.S.
population, but only 5% of clinical trial participants. As the
infographic illustrates, African Americans account for a
disproportionately high number of cases of cardiovascular disease and
hypertension. Similarly, Hispanic/Latinos comprise 17% of the U.S.
population, but less than 1% of clinical trial participants. Yet the
infographic shows that diseases such as obesity and Type 2 diabetes
disproportionately affect Hispanic populations.

“At a time where it is becoming increasingly difficult for
pharmaceutical companies to achieve their patient recruitment goals, we
have found that connecting with and engaging patients from diverse
ethnic groups is a key element of a successful communications plan,”
said Ken Shore, Executive Vice President of Continuum Clinical. “Each
patient population requires its own strategy and appropriate tactics for
it to be successful, however.”

In 2014, the FDA released
a report
that called for, among other things, “identifying barriers
to subgroup enrollment in clinical trials and employing strategies to
encourage greater participation,” that was specifically aimed at
underrepresented ethnic populations and women. The FDA reported
its progress
earlier last year, including “education/training for
reviewers about demographic inclusion, analysis, and communication of
clinical data.” However, the industry has continued to face challenges
in adjusting to the FDA recommendations to encourage wider participation
among minority populations.

Continuum Clinical and Thorne’s strategy takes the FDA’s recommendations
to heart by creating recruitment materials that are ethnically relevant,
and that go beyond simply inserting pictures of people of color on
brochures. They also utilize community influencers and grassroots
campaigns in unlikely places within ethnic communities.

“We actually get boots on the ground within communities and reach
influencers that many people wouldn’t think of in white communities,”
says Thorne. “These include religious leaders, popular community
restaurants and businesses; truly reaching out to people within ethnic
communities that have clout to get the word out about a diabetes or
kidney disease clinical trial.”

The Continuum Clinical and MHMG teams are hopeful that this approach
will help to close the gap in healthcare disparities. Or at the very
least help Americans to understand that “minority health” is really
going to be “American health” in the not-too-distant future.

About Continuum Clinical

Continuum Clinical is a global healthcare research and communications
company. With over thirty years of experience, Continuum Clinical brings
together a unique blend of world-class experience in key disciplines,
including post-approval research, marketing, communications, health
economics, and outcomes research. We excel in providing seamless
resources for pharmaceutical and biotech products — from patient
recruitment and retention for clinical trials to late stage studies and
health economics and outcomes research, as well as medical
communications. Continuum Clinical provides a unique blend of resources
and perspectives, proven expertise, and innovative solutions throughout
the entire continuum of a product’s lifecycle — from pre-launch into the
real world. Headquartered in the US, Continuum Clinical has employees in
Europe and expanded worldwide network of resources.


About Multicultural Healthcare Marketing Group

MHMG is a full-service market research and marketing communications
company with a team of seasoned, in-culture and in-language
professionals with in-depth knowledge and experience in the public and
private sectors of the healthcare industry. MHMG is committed to setting
the gold standard of “best practices” in marketing health information to
communities of color and to the healthcare professionals who treat them
– focused on the business case of eliminating racial and ethnic health



Continuum Clinical
Josh McColough, 847-418-2474