Diversity in clinical trials has actually dropped since 2012, IQVIA finds

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Related tags Clinical trial Clinical trials Pharmaceutical industry Patient insights Patient centricity

Despite diversity being spoken about more than ever before, research discovers clinical trials are less representative of the US population compared to a decade prior.

IQVIA recently released a report​ on global clinical trial activity in 2022, and compared it with the data from the preceding decade to understand trends across the space.

Despite the company outlining positive signs for clinical trials, such as a 27% increase in clinical development productivity and record levels of investment into research, a major finding was that progress on diversity had seen patient representation take a backward step.

In the figures, IQVIA found that Black/African American and Hispanic patient inclusion failed to reach US demographic levels on average across interventional trials.

Black/African American participation had notably declined by 46% over the last five years. Hispanic inclusion in trials has varied significantly over the last decade, but also never reached US demographic levels in the past decade, IQVIA stated.

Further insights identified a 1% drop in non-COVID trial activity compared to 2021, but this still represented an increase of 8% in trial activity compared to 2019. Overall investment by the top 15 largest pharma companies rose by 1% to $138bn (€129bn), which represents a record figure.

IQVIA also tracked venture capital deals and investment flows into the US that showed an acceleration of activity in the life sciences industry over the last three years.

In 2022, IQVIA noted more than 2,000 deals took place and a deal value of $42bn – though it added this was a drop compared to 2021, it still represented a significant boost to pre-pandemic levels. In 2019, $27.3bn had flowed into the space through venture capital and investments.

“The global R&D ecosystem demonstrated impressive resilience during the continued pandemic with a relatively high level of clinical trial activity. We also witnessed a significant rebound in clinical development productivity, driven by dropping trial complexity and a record level of expenditure by the largest pharmaceutical companies in 2022,” said Murray Aitken, executive director of the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science. “However, more work needs to be done to improve diversity and inclusion of underrepresented populations in clinical trials.”

In terms of the overall global pipeline, the company identified over 6,000 unique products in active development from Phase I to regulatory submission, which is similar to levels in 2021. Over the last five years, IQVIA outlined that the pipeline had grown at a compound annual growth rate of 8.3%.

Geographically, there was a shift towards products from companies headquartered in China, which represented 15% of the pipeline, after having grown from just 6% of the global pipeline five years ago. By comparison, Europe’s share declined from 31% to 23% over the past 15 years.

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