While COVID-19 does not discriminate in infecting patients, the data actually shows that virus outcomes have disproportionately affected minority communities. Further, despite a focus on improving diversity in trials for the disease, the trials fell short of diversity goals. A new study looks at why and how biopharma companies can improve. This week we also look at choosing between a functional service provider and a traditional contract research organization, share in-depth research on how trials fared last year, and highlight if environmental, social and governance (ESG) scores should include drug-pricing metrics. Finally, we explore whether Google wants to be a dermatologist when it grows up.
Each week, we highlight five things you need to know in the life sciences industry. Here’s the latest.
Throughout the past year, there has been a focus on ensuring that COVID-19 trials adequately represented the diverse patient populations affected by the disease. A new report from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, highlighted in this Endpoints News article, examines the underlying causes of this lack of diversity, how some clinicians are trying to address this concern, and issues a call to action as well to biopharma companies to make the investments that will lead to change.
Clinical Leader recently interviewed Carrie Lewis, senior director of strategy, oversight and training for Endo Pharmaceuticals, on the company’s use of functional service providers (FSP) in clinical trials and their benefits. An FSP can provide predictable resources at agreed-upon costs, allowing trials to adapt to changing environments without triggering large change orders, as sometimes might be expected from a traditional contract research organization. This flexibility was critical in the chaotic environment of the past 12 months.
The IQVIA Institute has issued its most recent report looking back at how clinical trials fared in 2020 amid the pandemic. The results are both in line with other reporting we have highlighted in prior “5 things” and also provides a fascinating look at how life sciences companies adapted and kept moving forward.
Analysts at Bernstein are proposing that when biopharma companies report their ESG scores, they should include independent analysis of the firm’s drug pricing policies. They argue that the single largest driver of a drug company’s reputation is pricing. This coincides with the growing calls for the United States to institute new drug pricing policies that tie prices to outside metrics like clinical value or the prices paid in other countries.
Google this week announced a new tool that uses artificial intelligence in a consumer facing web app to identify if a skin condition is worrisome. After uploading an image and answering some questions, the tool will identify a number of different conditions that it might be. Although this is not a Federal Drug Administration approved diagnostic tool, it highlights the ever-converging worlds of tech, life sciences and health care.