Thursday, January 21, 2021

Despite Higher Rates of Diabetes, Black Patients Are Rarely Included in Drug Trials

*Despite the rates of diabetes being almost twice among Black people as opposed to White, it has been found that Black patients are less likely to get included in drug safety trials.

Is It Racial Omission?

The US Food and Drug Administration has been testing diabetes medications for cardiovascular safety such as glucose-lowering medications. These effects will, of course, differ when it comes to the ethnicity or race of the patients. When researchers had a look at the profiles of the patients during drug trials, it was found that the Black people constituted only 5% of the total population.

The co-author of the study that found this difference, Dr. David Kerr said, “In the United States the burden of diabetes and the serious complications associated with it fall unfairly on minorities, particularly African Americans, yet it appears that they are under-represented in clinical trials of new therapies and devices.”

What’s more? These minorities are then exposed to some therapies that either don’t work or would cause them harm. Some of these therapies are also very expensive so most can’t afford them.

The Numbers

About 13% of the total Black population in the US has been diagnosed with diabetes, as opposed to 7.6% of White Americans. The rate of deaths caused by cardiovascular diseases was also found to be higher amongst Black Americans.

When it comes to the effectiveness of drugs, it is widely known that treatment can differ among those patients that belong to different races. Even though this is a common fact, most of the cardiovascular studies of the recent decade have been targeted towards heterosexual males.

“When drug trial participation isn’t balanced across gender, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, it can be easy to miss critical distinctions in how treatments may work in different types of people,” said Dr. Keith Ferdinand, of Tulane School of Medicine in New Orleans.

Oh, it gets scarier. The major issue of leaving out Black patients from trial studies isn’t just limited to diabetic patients. According to experts, this is also the case for the clinical trials held for cancer patients.

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