Walgreens is launching a clinical trial business, hoping to increase racial and ethnic diversity for patients in drug research.
Walgreens effort in clinical trials comes as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Biden White House look to improve drug research and patient health outcomes by enrolling more Americans from underrepresented racial and ethnic populations into U.S. clinical trials.
The FDA has acknowledged that racial and ethnic minorities are “frequently underrepresented in biomedical research,” the agency said two months ago when outlining the government’s steps to improve diversity in clinical trials given an estimated one in five drugs have varied responses in ethnic groups yet most clinical trial participants are white.
For its part, Walgreens said it will be able to leverage its national network of “owned and partner digital and physical assets” whether they be in-person, virtual or in patient homes that include Health Corner and doctor-staffed Village Medical at Walgreens locations that are opening adjacent to hundreds of pharmacies across the country. “Synergies with AllianceRx Walgreens Pharmacy, as well as investments made by Walgreens Boots Alliance in CareCentrix and Shields Health Solutions, will also support new clinical trials approaches, particularly for specialty indications,” Walgreens said.
Walgreens said initial clinical trial locations will be in markets that include Austin, Texas as well as San Francisco and Los Angeles. More markets will be announced as the clinical trial sites are rolled out.
“Walgreens trusted community presence across the nation, combined with our enterprise-wide data and health capabilities, enables us to pioneer a comprehensive solution that makes clinical trials more accessible, convenient and equitable,” Walgreens chief clinical trials officer Ramita Tandon said. “Through the launch of our clinical trials services, we can provide another offering for patients with complex or chronic conditions in their care journey, while helping sponsors advance treatment options for the diverse communities we serve. This is yet another way we are building our next growth engine of consumer-centric healthcare solutions.”