HEALTH

Medical Researchers Lament Lack Of Latinos In Clinical Studies; Better Outreach Needed

Doctors connected with the research and development of new medications said Wednesday that despite the fact that Hispanics make up 16 percent of the U.S. population, they account for only 1 percent of the people taking part in clinical trials.

The low participation rate of minorities in general in medical trials is a negative factor affecting the general long-term health of U.S. society.

At a press conference in Washington, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, and the National Minority Quality Forum launched the "I'm In" campaign to help achieve greater racial diversity in clinical trials.

"What we're seeking is to get these research centers closer to the places where our Hispanic communities are," Dr. Carlos Cardenas, CEO of Doctors Hospital in Edinburg, Texas, told EFE news agency.

He said that one of the main reasons for the low Hispanic participation rate in clinical studies is the lack of a definitive outreach strategy.

He explained that Mexican-Americans and people born in Puerto Rico are more prone to suffer from type 2 diabetes, one reason why it is important that they participate as volunteers in the development of new medications to treat that chronic disease.

"PhRMA and our member companies are committed to raising awareness and increasing participation in clinical trials, particularly among historically underrepresented populations," John Castellani, president and CEO of the industry group, said Wednesday.

He pointed out that African-Americans, Asian-Americans and Hispanics are significantly underrepresented in tests of new drugs.

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