The road from the development of a new drug in a laboratory to shepherding it through a series of clinical trials and presenting research findings to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) is a long and expensive one. The costs range from $100 million to several billions of dollars, and the entire process can drag on for more than a decade. Adding to that stress is the fact that all this money and time is spent at great risk to the drug companies and its investors. We work with several of the world’s top pharmaceutical companies and Contract Research Organizations (CRO), and I can tell you this: there is no industry with more on the line. A product can fail at any point during the testing process, and everything invested up to that point is lost forever.
With so much at stake, and ever-increasing pressure on drug makers and the FDA to hasten the development of new drugs, why does a large percentage of biomedical research not reflect the American population? Too often, minority populations are underrepresented, even in clinical trials for new treatments of diseases that disproportionally affect them. This ethnic diversity gap exacerbates minority health issues and drives up the nation’s health care costs. The health care industry must make increasing minority participation in clinical trials a top priority. (Forbes)