A patient receives the COVID-19 vaccine.

Diversity push for clinical trials prompts house panel look

By Jeannie Baumann, Bloomberg Law

Clinical trial diversity is garnering more attention from lawmakers as they seek to resolve a longstanding deficiency amid a larger national focus on health equity.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s health panel Wednesday will consider a bill (H.R. 7845) that would require researchers to submit “clear and measurable goals” in their grant applications to recruit and retain clinical trial participants who reflect the race, ethnicity, age, and sex of the patient or general US population. The bill would apply to clinical trials funded by the National Institutes of Health.

“This is what we’ve wanted with NIH funding for a really long time,” said Reshma Ramachandran, a Yale School of Medicine family physician and the FDA task force chair for Doctors for America.

“In the whole drug pricing debate, the thing that’s come up again and again is: how do we ensure a fair return on our public investment? And this is one step towards that to make sure that your taxpayer money is actually going to be used for things that will benefit taxpayers in general,” Ramachandran said.

The legislation aims to build upon laws going back to the 1990s to improve the inclusion of women and underrepresented populations in clinical trials. Read more …