Including more people from different groups of society in clinical trials seems obvious now. Ten years ago, however, the idea of even having a conversation about how we include more LGBTQ+ people across clinical trials would, for many, have been slightly awkward.
It wasn’t that industry was putting off having these conversations – most of industry didn’t even know that such a conversation was needed. It would have been like someone living in a bungalow wondering what colour they should paint the upstairs bathroom.
Mercifully, these conversations are starting – and they are rainbow-coloured. There is now a greater motivation to form clinical trial groups that reflect society – not just the type of people that typically enter clinical trials. Industry is embracing difference.
Inclusivity in a medical setting has benefits that not only provide greater insights into specific therapies, but also indicate the wider mental impact of taking particular treatments, how they affect different social groups and what it all means when it comes to reducing health inequalities.
There is also a global aspect to clinical trial inclusivity and it involves the parity of people. If people feel self-worth and are treated with dignity, they make better life choices. And when people make positive decisions because they feel validated, they are more likely to be healthier. Thus, the entire global healthcare ecosystem starts firing on all cylinders.
It is a myth that conversations about inclusion have to be awkward. Having them and acting on them actually reduces awkwardness by well over 100%.