Responsibility

Merck joins Novartis-led collaboration to increase diversity in clinical trials

New collaboration expands our clinical trials efforts to four Historically Black Medical School clinical trial Centers of Excellence

June 22, 2022

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Increasing diversity in clinical trials plays a crucial role in helping to understand how a broad range of human bodies may respond to drugs or other treatments. That’s why we’re committed to enrolling a diverse body of participants in our clinical trials around the globe.

Through a new collaboration with Beacon of Hope — an initiative created by Novartis and the Novartis U.S. Foundation to create greater diversity, equity and inclusion across the research and development ecosystem — Merck will operate clinical trials through four Historically Black Medical School clinical trial Centers of Excellence.  These four schools are: Morehouse School of Medicine, Howard University College of Medicine, Meharry Medical College and Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science. The trials will be conducted by investigators and trial managers of color among participants from underrepresented populations to more accurately represent the U.S. population.

“Merck is proud to participate in a collaboration focused on improving enrollment of underrepresented people into clinical trials with the common goal of ensuring these trials appropriately reflect the diversity of the patients we serve worldwide.”

  • Andy Lee
    Head of global clinical trial operations, Merck

Multiprong approach to increasing diversity in clinical trials

We take a multi-prong approach in our efforts to conduct trials that include all dimensions of diversity. It includes selecting trial sites with inclusion in mind, outreach and education tailored to communities, and ongoing learning from subject matter experts.

“A singular approach will not solve the challenge we face with the lack of diversity in U.S. clinical trials today — it has to be addressed from a higher level alongside our peers and colleagues and within the communities where potential volunteers live,” said Adrelia Allen, senior director of clinical trial patient diversity. “We know we can’t do this alone, and we must come together.”

“Diversity in our trials is not just an initiative — it’s our way of working. It’s woven into all steps of the trial process, and it must be proactive — not reactive.”

Adrelia Allen

Senior director of clinical trial patient diversity, Merck

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