Thursday, July 21, 2022
Bristol Myers Squibb has announced the launch of the Disability Diversity in Clinical Trials (DDiCT) initiative in collaboration with Disability Solutions, a non-profit organization focused on global disability inclusion. This initiative is part of Bristol Myers Squibb's broader commitment to inclusion, diversity, and health equity, aimed at addressing health disparities, clinical trial diversity, supplier diversity, employee giving, and workforce representation between 2020 and 2025.
The primary goal of the DDiCT initiative is to provide recommendations on how to enhance access, engagement, enrollment speed, and participation of individuals with disabilities in clinical trials. The aim is to ensure that all patient groups, including those with disabilities, are properly represented in clinical trials, reflecting the real-world population and aligning with the epidemiology of the diseases being studied. The initiative was initiated by Bristol Myers Squibb's People & Business Resource Group DAWN (Disability Advancement Workplace Network) and will be co-led by DAWN and the Global Drug Development Team.
Dr. Samit Hirawat, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Global Drug Development at Bristol Myers Squibb, stated, "Through this work, Bristol Myers Squibb can set the standard and stage for access to life-changing and life-saving medicines for people with disabilities. The long-term goal of our DDiCT program is to develop and pilot trials that are accessible to the widest variety of patients."
Currently, common clinical trial practices exclude a significant portion of the U.S. population based on disability status. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that explicit exclusion criteria resulted in the exclusion of 12.4% of individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities and 1.8% of those with physical disabilities from 338 phase III and IV studies. The study also identified additional barriers, such as inaccessible trial sites, medical equipment, and ableist biases, that prevent individuals with disabilities from accessing potentially life-saving treatments.
Tinamarie Duff, DAWN Global People & Business Resource Group Lead at Bristol Myers Squibb, emphasized the importance of including people with disabilities in medical trials and research. She stated, "The launch of the DDiCT, especially during Disability Pride Month, supports Bristol Myers Squibb's overall commitment to address every dimension of diversity, which means making the most effective medicine to include people with disabilities at all stages of access/trials