OLYMPIA – Positive healthcare outcomes are disproportionately less likely to occur in overburdened communities. Rep. My-Linh Thai, D-Bellevue, has introduced and passed House Bill 1745 to increase diversity in clinical trials.
The legislation requires clinical trials to adopt a policy of recruiting participants from underrepresented demographics to widen the lived experiences of participants and to lead to trials results that reflect the effects on all communities. This requirement is critical in helping researchers understand the impact of structural and social determinants of health.
“Marginalized communities have historically been harmed by prejudiced practices in clinical trials,” said Thai. “At the same time, lack of participation among these communities means that clinical trial results do not accurately reflect impacts on everyone. As a pharmacist, I know how important it is that trial samples accurately incorporate all communities. This leads to better medicine and better outcomes for everyone.”
Additionally, the legislation creates a diversity in clinical trials program at the Washington State Institutional Review Board and requires information to be provided for clinical trials in languages other than English, and to provide translation services. HB 1745 also directs investigators in clinical trials to collaborate with community-based organizations, and work with the Andy Hill Cancer Research Endowment Program to consider factors related to an applicant’s ability to increase the diversity of participants in clinical trials when awarding grants.
“Community organizations have done so much good work, during the pandemic and before it,’ continued Thai. “They have the trust of their communities that leads to better participation. Including them in this effort means better participation and better science.”
The Governor signed HB 1745 into law on Thursday, May 11. It goes into effect July 23, 2023.