Equity in clinical trial research: What does it mean?

We know that different people may have different reactions to the same treatment based on their age, gender, weight, race, ethnicity, and other factors. Equity in clinical trials means that the participants in clinical trials represent the people who are most likely to have the health condition and need the treatment that the trial is testing. However, we realize that health disparities across minority communities have caused gaps in science and the development of lifesaving treatments for all. To create equitable clinical trial research, more work is needed on our part.

Inequality in clinical research

In the history of clinical research, people’s race and socioeconomic status were often used against them. This has led to distrust for the medical community and clinical research in many minority communities.

We cannot change history, but we can learn from its mistakes and do better. MSD has implemented programmes and policies to ensure transparent research and equal access to our clinical trials.

What we’re doing about it

We try to lower health disparities by enrolling a wide range of participants in our clinical trials to make sure our vaccines and medicines work across ethnicities, races, and genders.

Select clinical trial sites with inclusion in mind

We strive to partner with trial sites that closely reflect our diverse patient population.

Work with members of the community

We seek out community-based organsations in our trial site areas to help us build trust and broaden community participation in our research.

Tailored outreach and communication

We provide training for research teams to use educational materials that resonate with and inform specific patient populations.

Commitment to diversity

We are committed to enrolling diverse people in our clinical trials around the world, such as:

  • Ethnic minorities
  • Different ethnicities
  • Different genders and ages
  • LGBTQI+ people
  • People from different socioeconomic backgrounds

Our enrolment in clinical trials continues to evolve so that we achieve the right balance of participants to help us safely bring new medicines to all people.