Struggle to include women in clinical trials continues despite gains

June 16, 2022 -- Though female participation in clinical trials has been steadily improving over the years, most of the women enrolled in trials are white and not members of minority groups. In addition, these studies must be designed and implemented with the ability to analyze whether the variables being studied affect women and minority groups differently than other participants.

Those are among the gender equity issues addressed at a June 15 panel at the 2022 Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) International Convention in San Diego. spoke with BIO panelist Kathryn Schubert, president and CEO of the Society for Women's Health Research, which was founded 30 years ago to ensure that clinical trials were more inclusive of women and minority groups.

Despite improvements made when it comes to inclusion, Schubert pointed out that pregnant and lactating women are also typically underrepresented in clinical trials. She noted that these female populations were not initially included in COVID-19 vaccine trials, which created some confusion regarding whether the vaccines were safe and effective for them.

"Across the board, we need more women in science, whether they're clinical trial participants, researchers, clinicians, all the way up to the top level of executives at companies or throughout the federal government here in the U.S. We need women at the table to be able to create these trial designs and really think about the specific issues women are looking at," Schubert said.

Watch the video below to learn more.

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