Sensis completed its first survey on diversity in medical research and found minorities grossly underrepresented in clinical trials. Even though the FDA will require 15% diversity in federal drug trials for approval, African Americans and Hispanics are the least likely to take part according to research conducted by Sensis.
“Greater compensation, more transparency, and assurances around health and safety would go a long way toward generating a higher level of participation,” SensisHealth Managing Director Sharon Carothers, MPH, MSW said. “There is a lot of mistrust of institutions among Hispanics and African Americans that has developed over centuries. That is going to be hard to overcome.”
African Americans had the strongest negative association with clinical trials of any group surveyed. Twenty-nine percent of Black respondents knew, “there are times when certain groups were exploited in medical studies.” Nearly one-third of African American respondents had “heard negative things about medical research studies or clinical trials.” Meanwhile, 28% said they “did not want to be a guinea pig.”
“It is important to know what perceptions are standing in your way if you hope to affect meaningful change,” Sensis President and Chief Strategy Officer José Villa said. “Changing behavior takes time but the federal regulations don’t give drug companies very much time. Focusing on the benefits, demonstrating how communities will be helped, and making it personal will all play a role in affecting change.”