There are significant opportunities to improve the health of all people through understanding and addressing health disparities in our communities, particularly in key therapeutic areas such as oncology, cardiovascular and inflammation.
Our Focus Areas
Representative product development
Comprehensive health education
Accessible and inclusive healthcare
Expand access to and participation in clinical trials and develop medicines to address unmet needs among historically underserved patients
Improve health literacy and education among historically underserved patients
Strengthen community and care support systems and access to medicines for historically underserved patients
Representation in Product Development
The underrepresentation of racial and ethnic minority patients in clinical trials contributes to the collection of incomplete or limited trial data, limited access to innovative treatment for vulnerable populations, and disparities in health outcomes. Barriers to participation include mistrust, lack of awareness, logistical challenges such as transportation, and provider bias. Amgen believes that when we improve the health of those who have been underrepresented and historically underserved for far too long, we improve the health of everyone.
9. Murphy SL, Xu J, Kochanek KD, et al. Deaths: final data for 2018. National Vital Statistics Reports. 2021;69(13). Published January 12, 2021. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr69/nvsr69-
10. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Global participation in clinical trials Report, 2015-2016. Published July 2017. Available at: https://www.fda.gov/media/106725/download
11. DeSantis CE, Miller KD, Sauer, AG, et al. Cancer statistics for African Americans 2019. American Cancer Society Journals. 2019;69(3). Available at: https://doi.org/10.3322/caac.21555.
12. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Drug trials snapshots summary report, 2019. Published January 2020. Available at: https://www.fda.gov/media/135337/download.
Amgen is working to improve the proportional representation of trial participants in clinical trials, by addressing key systemic issues that deter people from participating in research, especially those groups who have been historically underserved due to race, ethnicity, sex, age, and other factors.
We have developed an enterprise-wide framework to strengthen our focus on enhancing diversity and representation in clinical trial participation across our portfolio. We reflect the principles in our Global Code of Ethics for Clinical Trials. We have developed diversity plans for multiple clinical studies that align with both industry principles and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidance for industry to enhance diversity in clinical trials and encourage inclusivity in medical product development. We are also locating trials closer to historically underserved and underrepresented populations and incorporating remote visits to reduce the burden on participants.
In addition, through Amgen's Representation in Clinical Research team, known as RISE, we are engaging with representatives of historically underserved and underrepresented communities to obtain insights and perspectives on how best to address barriers that limit the diversity and representation of trial participants and investigators.
We are also working with partners to help increase representation in product development. For example, we are partnering with:
- CEO Roundtable on Cancer: The Going for Gold program works with Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions to improve health equity, education, navigation, and access. The program is expected to impact more than 20 million lives, especially among communities disproportionately affected by cancer. Through the initiative, universities can contribute to research efforts through the CEO Roundtable's Project Data Sphere®, which helps expand access to clinical trial research and offers an open-access digital platform for aggregating and analyzing data to advance health equity efforts.
- Lazarex Cancer Foundation: The IMPACT (Improving Patient Access to Cancer Clinical Trials) is a multi-year nationwide program that aims to increase enrollment and retention of cancer patients – especially underrepresented and underserved populations – in clinical trials by expanding awareness of trial opportunities, alleviating financial barriers, and helping patients navigate the sometimes-cumbersome clinical trial process.
- American Cancer Society: Amgen is supporting the American Cancer Society - Cancer Action Network's pilot program to test a trial eligibility screening intervention intended to increase and diversify patient enrollment in cancer clinical trials. The project's design includes the integration of regional cancer clinical trial matching capability into existing electronic health record systems and utilization of clinical trial navigators to help patients address logistical and financial challenges to enrolling in and completing clinical trials.
Comprehensive Health Education
Historically underrepresented populations have lower rates of diagnosis and screening for many life-threatening conditions – from cancer and heart disease to asthma. Delays in diagnosis, in some cases, mean patients don't receive access to potentially life-saving treatments until it is too late, leading to higher mortality rates for underrepresented and underserved populations.
Amgen is working to improve health literacy and education among historically underserved patients so that patients, their caregivers, their families, and their communities have a better understanding of health conditions, can be more engaged in discussions with healthcare providers, and empowered to make more informed choices about their health.
One way we are doing this is through our collaborations with religious leaders, who are among the most trusted members of local communities and provide vital information on social services, education, and health to their congregations. We are working with the Health Education Advocacy Learning (HEAL) collaborative, which partners with faith-based organizations in Georgia, Ohio, Texas, and Maryland to raise awareness of diseases that disproportionately impact undeserved communities and people of color. The program includes information on risk factors and channels for accessing care and seeks to raise awareness about participating in clinical trials for potential treatments.
Accessible and Inclusive Healthcare
We are working with partners to strengthen community and care support systems and access to medicines for historically underserved patients. This includes meeting patients where they are, helping them navigate the systems that deliver care, and addressing social determinants of health that may be contributing to disparities.
One example is our partnership with the American Heart Association on a grassroots program to raise awareness of cardiovascular health and prevention strategies while engaging and supporting community members to create a culture of health. We are also partnering with Findhelp.org, a community network referral program that helps people find financial assistance, food pantries, medical care, and other free or reduced-cost services in their local communities.