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Bristol Myers Squibb launches initiative to ensure disability diversity in clinical trials

Current common clinical trial practices exclude up to a quarter of the US population based on disability status

BMS

Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) has launched the Disability Diversity in Clinical Trials (DDiCT) initiative to ensure equal access to clinical trials, ensuring all patient groups are ‘reflective of the real-world population’.

Launched in collaboration with Disability Solutions, a US-based non-profit organisation supporting companies globally to achieve disability inclusion, the DDiCT initiative will aim to make recommendations on how to ‘effectively improve access, engagement, speed of enrolment and participation of people with disabilities in clinical trials’.

The initiative, which aligns with BMS’ broader inclusion and diversity health equity commitments, was initiated by the company’s People & Business Resource Group Disability Advancement Workplace Network (DAWN) and will be co-led by DAWN and the Global Drug Development Team.

Commenting on the launch, Tinamarie Duff, DAWN global people and business resource group lead, BMS, said: “People with disabilities are omitted from conversations about diversity and inclusion, despite being the largest underrepresented group in the world and the only underrepresented group anyone can join at any given moment. Therefore, it’s essential that we broaden the scope of medical trials and research.

“The launch of the DDiCT, especially during Disability Pride Month, supports BMS’ overall commitment to address every dimension of diversity, which means making the most effective medicine to include people with disabilities at all stages of access/trials.”

Current common clinical trial practices exclude up to a quarter of the US population based on disability status, BMS said. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, in 338 phase 3 and 4 studies, 12.4% of people with intellectual or developmental disabilities and 1.8% of those with physical disabilities failed to be included due to explicit exclusion criteria.

Inaccessible trial sites, medical equipment, and ableist biases were also identified in the study as barriers for disability diversity within clinical trials, deterring this community from receiving potentially life-saving treatments.

Samit Hirawat, executive vice president and chief medical officer, global drug development, BMS, said: "Through this work, BMS can set the standard and stage for access to life-changing and life-saving medicines for people with disabilities. The long-term goal of our DDiCT programme is to develop and pilot trials that are accessible to the widest variety of patients.”

Article by
Emily Kimber

21st July 2022

From: Research, Healthcare

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