: Black patients were rarely included in clinical trials — until the COVID-19 vaccines. Will these changes stick?

by | Jun 30, 2022 | Stock Market

Stephanie Walker, a Black retired nurse who was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2015, has never been asked to participate in a clinical trial. But if the opportunity to do so came up, she would take it in a heartbeat.  “Give me the chance to say no after I’ve received all the information,” Walker, 63, told MarketWatch. “Let me make that informed decision.”

Black Americans like Walker are rarely asked to participate in clinical research. In fact, a survey of about 400 people she recently conducted for the Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance found that 83% of Black patients with metastatic breast cancer said they would consider participating in a clinical trial, but 40% said no one on their care team had asked them about participating in a study.  “Nobody’s telling us about clinical trials,” Walker said. “Why is that?” An estimated 8% of people who participated in clinical trials for new drugs approved in 2020 identify as African American or Black; roughly 3% or 4% of people who participate in cancer trials in the U.S. are Black; and only 3% of participants in studies for new cardiovascular therapies are Black. This means that Black patients rarely get the option to try potentially groundbreaking therapies being tested in clinical research, and the treatments that become the standard of medical care in the U.S. are seldom tested in the 13% of the U.S. population that identifies as Black. And that raises questions about which patients qualify for new drugs, whether due to federal health guidelines …

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