Exploring attitudes towards clinical trials among people from different ethnic groups in the U.S.

Diversity in Clinical Trials

MANCHESTER, United Kingdom, May 20, 2021— To commemorate World Clinical Trials Day, Demand Diversity has released new research exploring reasons behind the underrepresentation of ethnic minorities in US clinical trials. The research also addresses how clinical trial communication strategies can be improved to better engage people from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities.

The research findings suggest that participation from ethnic minorities continue to be low, even while COVID-19 has raised awareness of the importance of clinical trials among potential recruits, and as the pharmaceutical industry has begun to tackle its diversity and inclusion problem. Many participants expressed their mistrust in so-called Big Pharma, concern about being exploited and dehumanized, suspicion over the financial motives of the pharmaceutical industry, and concerns around the disparities in the quality of care they might receive.

Disease symptoms vary between men and women and across different ethnicities. Without attracting diverse participant groups in clinical studies, we can’t be confident about how new treatments will work in the general population,” said Demand Diversity Founder, Ash Rishi. “Our research looked not only at what’s stopping ethnic minorities from stepping forward, but also how trial communication strategies can better attract a more diverse sample.

This research follows on from a study based in the United Kingdom, which found a similar reluctance from ethnic minorities to participate in clinical trials in the country due to many complex barriers. Both studies make several recommendations for better engaging potential recruits, including reaching out to community leaders, building tailored communication strategies per ethnic group, and providing complete information and transparency at every stage of the process. With this approach, potential recruits can assess all benefits and risks and make informed decisions.

As our research shows, the barriers stopping ethnic minorities from taking part in clinical trials are complex,” said Founder, Ash Rishi. “Yet, that mustn’t stop our industry from making every effort to better engage with these diverse groups. Without their participation, clinical trials simply aren’t reflecting real-life population diversity, and trial efficacy will be compromised.”

You can read the full research report here.