Diversity within pharmaceutical studies continues to be a problem across a wide variety of clinical trial sectors, with industry sponsors and pivotal studies particularly experiencing issues, says GlobalData. When looking specifically at oncology, the leading data and analytics company found that Black participants are severely underrepresented in these studies, only accounting for 3% of the global oncology clinical trial population.
According to GlobalData’s report, ‘Clinical Trials – The Importance of Diversity in Clinical Trials’, Asian participants accounted for more than 10 times that of the Black population, while white participants accounted for more than 19 times.
Mohamed Abukar, Senior Analyst on the Database Team at GlobalData, comments: “Improving Black enrollment in oncology studies is vital so that biological responses to therapies can be fully understood and the most appropriate treatments can be administered. Further, a lack of diversity in clinical trial populations significantly diminishes the quality of data obtained for drug safety and efficacy profiles. If trial participants are representative of the wider disease population, clinical trials can effectively assess the safety and effectiveness of new or existing therapeutics.”
Relative to other therapy areas, oncology has the greatest number of ‘expanded access’ and ‘companionate use’ program trials using experimental therapeutics. It is, therefore, essential that diverse race groups can receive innovative therapies and that therapeutics that are in development are representative of the disease demographic to prevent excess mortality.
Abukar adds: “A diverse clinical trial population allows us to identify discrepancies in responses across population subgroups, ultimately allowing for a better understanding and a more targeted approach in the administration of therapeutics to diverse populations in a real-world setting. Strategies to improve diversity across the pharma industry must be considered where trial populations vastly differ from the disease demographics to ensure that all population subgroups are well represented in clinical research, especially within the field of oncology.”