With all the medical advancements emerging these days through clinical trials and technology, one would assume the next medical breakthrough will mean good health for everyone, right? Well, what if you discovered that last year, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, around 76 percent of all clinical trial participants were white?
This means those trials did not include individuals from some of the largest-growing segments of our increasingly diverse population in Nevada and the nation, including African Americans, Hispanics and Asians. I’m thankful that our lawmakers have moved quickly to right a wrong with the Legislature unanimously passing Assembly Bill 214. Gov. Brian Sandoval signed it into law over the holiday weekend.
This new law will require the Division of Public and Behavioral Health of the Department of Health and Human Services to establish programs and policies to encourage minority participation in clinical trials of drugs and medical devices. It will also help identify and recruit these populations to participate. But we must not stop there.
Those with leadership positions in our minority communities also bear the responsibility of helping dispel any fears and cultural myths about medicine and clinical trial participation. Together, all of these changes will help ensure minority health concerns are being addressed in this process. Encouraging active participation in these medical trials will lead to new therapies and medications that will help improve the health of everyone, including African Americans, Hispanics, Asians and others.