The Graying of Clinical Trials

Pharmexec: June 4, 2014

Patients 65 years of age and over are underrepresented in clinical trials, even though in many therapeutic categories they are the primary drug consumers. But, writes, Sydney Rubin, there are few practical or ethical obstacles to including elderly patients in trials that cannot be overcome.

Thanks to efforts of groups like the Society for Women’s Health Research, considerable attention has been focused over the last 20 years on bias in biomedical research, specifically the inclusion of women and minorities in clinical trials. Previously, clinical trials were almost exclusively designed by middle aged white men for middle aged white men and such bias put the health of American women and minorities at risk, SWHR has said.

Today, a similar problem is faced by older people. Broadly speaking, patients 65 years of age and over are underrepresented in all phases of clinical trial, even though in many therapeutic categories they are the primary drug consumers. The disparity between participation in trials by older patients and market need is enormous and growing. Sponsors of clinical trials must open the door to including more elderly patients because failing to do so will have enormous adverse consequences for global public health – and pharmaceutical industry profits. Read More