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Diabetes Rates Higher In Black People But Only Few Included In US Trials

Update Date: Jan 10, 2017 09:00 AM EST

More black people in the US are struck with diabetes, yet only few are included in clinical trials. Researchers are concerned that this could make therapies ineffective and expensive.

In 2008, the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has required that new anti-diabetes medications should be tested to assess its cardiovascular safety. Its result could vary depending on the patient's race.

According to The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, researchers looked into the seven cardiovascular outcome trials, namely: EXAMINE, EMPA-REG, SAVOR-TIM 53, ELIXA, TECOS, LEADER, and SUSTAIN-6. They found out that few black people are included in the diabetes drug trials. In five out of seven trials, black people made up of only less than five per cent of the population.

Furthermore, only two trials complied in collecting data about the race or ethnicity of the subjects. The journal added that the misrepresentation of black people in diabetes trials in the U.S could be due to socioeconomic status, transportation concerns, poor health knowledge and fear of abuse.

Dr. David Kerr of the William Sansum Diabetes Center in Santa Barbara, California said that black people are "under-represented in clinical trials of new therapies and devices." This is a source of concern as 13 percent of African-Americans in the U.S have diabetes, while only 7.6 percent of white people are affected.

In cardiovascular studies, more white heterosexual males are included according to Dr. Andrew Krumerman of Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center in New York. Like Kerr, he believes that black people are "poorly represented in large cardiovascular outcome trials."

A well-represented trial across ethnicity, gender, race and socioeconomic status is desirable as treatments may vary from different types of people. Dr. Keith Ferdinand of Tulane School of Medicine in New Orleans said that "certain groups of patients may respond differently to the same therapies."

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