Quick Post: Boston Scientific’s efforts to enroll more women in medical device trials

I love Qmed. They provide great news updates all the time. This morning, I came across an important bit of news through one of their newsletters.

Boston Scientific apparently has an initiative called WIN-Her. Marketing must have gone into a frenzy to come up with this, which, expands to:  Women Opt-In for Heart Research.

Boston Scientific points to research (link, obtained through BSC press release, below) that indicates that only one-third of patients enrolled in a cardiovascular clinical trial between 2000 and 2007. I am sure there is not much reason to believe the situation has improved much.

They are now using this program of theirs to enroll more women in two of their own clinical trials (please see links below). It is very important to know if women and men experience the effects of devices and treatments differently, and for this, it is key that enough women be enrolled in clinical trials for non-sex specific health conditions. However, major barriers exist. This is a theme that I will expand on this blog extensively, over time.

There is of course the added benefit that it makes the sales of devices, proven by clinical trials, that much easier and the prospects of profits higher!

It is true that women not only have lesser access to healthcare, they are also not given information about the possibilities of clinical trials, treatment options and so on. As pointed out, in the Qmed article, logistical challenges in clinical trial participation are already high, and for women who might have income barriers, transportation and continual access issues, this probably makes things worse.

Only a concerted effort by industry, academia, hospitals, non profits (including, organizations like Planned Parenthood) and the various levels of Government can help ensure enough women enroll and participate in clinical trials. This is true of not just cardiovascular health conditions, but all health conditions.

On a slightly different note, I found this interesting read about a Stanford University Undergraduate Student who survived AML, and apparently, enrolling in a clinical trial helped the young lady who wrote the blog post, furthering the argument that it is very important that women of all walks of life be encouraged to join clinical trials where feasible.

References:

  1. Image courtesy, pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/view-of-operating-room-247786/
  2. The Qmed article: http://www.qmed.com/mpmn/medtechpulse/can-boston-scientific-woo-more-women-clinical-trials?cid=nl.x.qmed02.edt.aud.qmed.20170502
  3. The Boston Scientific Press Release: http://news.bostonscientific.com/2017-04-18-Boston-Scientific-Initiates-Global-Study-To-Assess-Sudden-Cardiac-Arrest-Prevention-Therapy-In-Patients-With-Diabetes-Who-Have-Previously-Experienced-A-Heart-Attack
  4. The gender bias paper mentioned by Boston Scientific: http://circoutcomes.ahajournals.org/content/4/2/165.long
  5. The blog post by the AML survivor: https://medium.com/stanford-magazine/i-didnt-beat-cancer-my-doctors-did-ec6c3a92d426