The Digital Medicine Society (DiMe) launched a suite of free resources designed to boost diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) in digitized clinical trials Wednesday morning.
The resources are structured to support the mission of DE&I in digitized clinical trials and support the development of medical products that “meet the needs of all patients.”
These include definitions to ensure industry-wide alignment on DE&I as well as a guide to conduct a digitized clinical trial with these considerations in mind. The resources also have an interactive timeline to highlight DE&I opportunities, suggestions on digital tools to use and how to increase both the enrollment and retention of diverse participants.
DiMe developed the tools in collaboration with a wide variety of healthcare experts and stakeholders, including the Food and Drug Administration, Genentech, Amgen, GSK, Janssen, the American Kidney Fund and Scripps Research, among others.
In conjunction with the unveiling, DiMe hosted a live event featuring FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf.
“We actively continue to put people of color, women, poor communities, and other underrepresented populations at risk every single day with our failure to change the way we run clinical trials,” DiMe CEO Jennifer Goldsack said in a statement. “It’s been one year since the FDA issued draft guidance for DEI in clinical trials, and while organizations have hired DEI heads, many lack a team, sufficient budget, and clear direction to make a real difference. The digital tools available to us today can position us to stop admiring the problem of non-representative clinical trials and actually address the problem. To really move the needle, we need to stop making excuses and these new resources help us do just that.”
The free resources offered by DiMe are yet another example of the healthcare industry, specifically the pharma sector, to embrace the tenets of DE&I and rectify longstanding institutional barriers to health equity.
Some, like Novo Nordisk, have made a concerted effort to move the needle on the DE&I front, both through internal initiatives and external community outreach.
Notably, Biogen was criticized in a recent congressional report for a confidential marketing scheme for its Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm that was based on clinical trials which included very few non-white participants.