July is Disability Pride Month in the US and Bristol Myers Squibb has teamed up with the non-profit Disability Solutions to improve disability diversity in clinical trials.
About 26 percent (one in four) of adults in the US have some type of disability and face various difficulties in their daily life because of factors like inaccessible environments, negative attitudes from others and lack of inclusion in various policies.
In time for Disability Pride Month happening now, Bristol Myers Squibb has started an initiative called “Disability Diversity in Clinical Trials (DDiCT)” to support the inclusion of people with disabilities in upcoming clinical trials. This initiative can pave the way for better accessibility and inclusion of people with disabilities in clinical trials.
Disability Diversity and Inclusion: Need of the Hour
Pablo Picasso once said, “There is only one way to look at things until someone shows us how to look at them with different eyes.”
In accordance with the saying, it is a pressing need to not only recognize but also take action to ensure people with disabilities are properly represented in clinical trials for live-saving treatments.
For example, according to the National Institute on Ageing, about 50 percent of people with Down syndrome will develop Alzheimer’s disease as they age, but may be excluded from participating in clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease treatment.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has analyzed 338 Phase III and Phase IV clinical trials and revealed that 12.4 percent of people with developmental or intellectual disabilities and 1.8 percent of people with physical disabilities were failed to be included due to specific exclusion criteria. The study also reported that people with disabilities face barriers to clinical trial access, such as inaccessible trial sites, medical equipment and ableist biases. These are serious concerns because it deters the disability community from getting treatment that could be lifesaving.
More effort needs to be implemented in the life sciences industry to ensure that people with disabilities receive health equity commitments.
Live and On-Demand: Thursday, September 8, 2022, at 11am EDT (4pm BST/UK)
Register for this free webinar to learn about varied topics regarding patient advocacy, sites and sponsors and explore approaches and considerations to increase clinical trial diversity. The featured speakers will discuss Labcorp’s commitment to increasing diversity in clinical trials and Labcorp’s strategy to overcome critical barriers with innovative solutions.
The Collaboration between Bristol Myers Squibb and Disability Solutions
Bristol Myers Squibb is collaborating with Disability Solutions, a non-profit organization based in the US that helps companies worldwide achieve disability inclusion, to launch the DDiCT initiative. The DDiCT project was initiated by the Bristol Myers Squibb People & Business Resource Group DAWN (Disability Advancement Workplace Network) and will be led by both DAWN and the Global Drug Development Team.
Their preliminary strive is to suggest improvements on how to effectively improve accessibility, engagement, enrollment speed and participation of people with disabilities in clinical trials. This will ensure the real-world population is reflected in clinical trials and related to the epidemiology of the disease studies.
“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,” said Tinamarie Duff, DAWN Global People & Business Resource Group Lead, Bristol Myers Squibb in the company’s press release. “The launch of the DDiCT, especially during Disability Pride Month, supports Bristol Myers Squibb’s 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.”