Minority populations have historically and consistently been underrepresented in clinical trials. As a result, important information about how medicines work in minority populations is not always available. The issue is critical because patients’ responses to medicines can vary by ethnicity, lifestyle and genetic background.
Lilly has taken a leadership role, boosting enrollment of diverse populations in trials and making trials more accessible to minority communities. We have goals across our therapeutic and product lines to achieve greater diversity among patients enrolling in new clinical trials to Lilly has taken a leadership role, boosting enrollment of diverse populations in trials and making trials more accessible. We also partner with a number of organizations to raise awareness about health disparities.
To help address barriers to access to trials, our clinical-trial diversity strategy has included activities such as:
- Translating patient materials into appropriate languages
- Providing physician education materials that include background on the different needs of distinct patient groups
- Providing assistance with patient transportation and travel reimbursement to and from certain trial sites
Changing the World of Cancer Care
In summer 2013, Lilly will begin a new initiative in oncology to train minority investigators. The partnership with Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo will offer training to minority investigators. There are approximately 10,400 oncologists in the United States, but less than 2 percent of them are African American or Hispanic. Lilly’s goal is to train 75 to 150 oncologists in this first-of-its-kind program in the pharmaceutical industry.
Lilly Doctor Advocates for Diversity in Clinical Trials
When Coleman Obasaju started working in clinical trial development at Lilly, he was shocked to see the poor representation of minorities in clinical trials in the entire industry, even for diseases from which minorities suffer disproportionately.
Obasaju rang the alarm bells in Lilly Oncology,
where several other individuals were aligned with his passion and vision to have clinical test groups better match the disease prevalence rate in the general population.
The important role Coleman has played at Lilly has resulted in him taking on an additional role as the global leader of diversity in clinical research in Lilly Oncology and also has placed him in the spotlight on panels at global, national and local conferences of physicians, advocates, policy makers and journalists. All play an important role in spreading the word about the need for diversity in clinical trials.
His efforts are focused on the creation of a program in partnership with Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York, to train more oncology minority investigators, a first-of-its-kind training program in the industry. “We continue to demonstrate our commitment to diversity. It’s about solutions. By training more oncology minority investigators, we will be able to reach even more populations we haven’t before,” Obasaju said.