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Lack of Black Participation in Clinical Trials Is Killing Us All

Lives are saved everyday due to the leaps and bounds made in clinical trials in labs around the world. However, Black participants are hard to come by, making difficult to assess how new drugs will affect African-American patients, which in turn makes it harder to resolve disparities in health care between Blacks and whites.

African-Americans respond differently than whites to some medications. Some drugs are less effective (such as beta blockers for hypertension), according to In general, studies have shown that clinical trials involving large numbers of Black patients are needed to further clarify their response to various therapies.

Before a new medication or treatment is approved by The Food and Drug Administration and made available to the public, a clinical trial is conducted, first on animals and then on human subjects if the medication shows favorable results. Recruiting subjects for medical research studies is difficult, but Black participants, a group who would benefit more than most from medical research, seem to be particularly reluctant.

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