by Patty Martin

Vice President, Global Diversity
Eli Lilly and Company

As scientific technology improves, it is becoming increasingly clear that there are differences in patient outcomes based on a variety of factors, such as genetics, environment, race or ethnicity, and cultural differences. These differences contribute to the fact that medicines do not always work for the patients to whom they are prescribed.

Compounding the problem, diverse patients are historically underrepresented in clinical research. Trials that over-represent Caucasians lack sufficient data on potentially relevant patient differences. This is extremely important, because in some cases, medicines don’t work as well or they may work better. Side effect profiles or risks also may be different.

At Eli Lilly and Company, we have changed our core business processes to understand patient differences and to include more diverse participants in our clinical trials. More inclusive data may allow doctors to prescribe the right medicines with more confidence, based on having representative data. It also helps to ensure consumers are prescribed medicines that will be more likely to work for them— personalized medicine.

“We have changed our core business process to understand patient differences and to include more diverse participants in our clinical trials”

Our efforts focus on matching disease prevalence to our participant pools in clinical trials. This is important, because minorities suffer a higher incidence of certain diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, compared to Caucasians. We are close to accomplishing our enrollment goals in diabetes and depression research, and we are quickly implementing interventions in oncology and cardiovascular disease.

At Lilly, we understand we cannot accomplish our goals alone. We have convened representatives from the national Medical Association, the national hispanic Medical Association, the national Council of La Raza, and the educational network to Advance Cancer Clinical trials, to discuss ways to attract more diverse investigators and patients. We are establishing advisory committees, such as our Latino Advisory Board, who we work closely with to identify various ways to increase representation of Hispanic patients in our clinical trials.

In addition, clinical research organizations contracted by Lilly are being monitored and held accountable for achieving the same goal. Lilly also is reaching out to underrepresented patients in community hospitals by providing easy-to-understand information about clinical research. We ask others in the health care system to join us in this journey to achieve appropriate diversity in clinical trials. At Lilly, we want to develop medicines that improve health outcomes for all patients. We believe improving individual patient outcomes begins with studying the differences that matter, and then delivering information in a way that is meaningful to them.

Eli Lilly and Company, a leading innovation-driven corporation, is developing a growing portfolio of pharmaceutical products by applying the latest research from its own worldwide laboratories and from collaborations with eminent scientific organizations. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, Lilly provides answers through medicines and information for some of the world’s most urgent medical needs. Additional information available at