The Mission That Binds Us
Those of us who work in drug development, we don’t all have the same journey to our profession. Some of us were brilliant at math and science, some desired to be challenged daily and others wanted to bring our creativity into the lab. Though our paths to Janssen differ, there is one thing that binds us together, and that is the reason why we do what we do: the patients and their families.
The commitment to our patients – all patients – is part of Johnson & Johnson DNA. Our namesake, Dr. Paul Janssen, understood this calling and it is a legacy we uphold today. However, to ensure that our therapies truly deliver on that promise, we must run equitable, global clinical trials that mirror the incredibly diverse world we live in.
According to the 2021 U.S. Census, 80 to 90 percent of patients participating in clinical trials for new medicines and treatments are mainly White.1 This is due in part to the lack of awareness of clinical trials, mistrust in the healthcare system overall and to accessibility barriers, including language, transportation and even childcare. Addressing this, for Janssen, and particularly our Global Development team, is not only a need, but also our responsibility and obligation.
One way to help close these accessibility gaps is to facilitate authentic conversations with our patient community. Jansen’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Clinical Trials (DEICT) team, which sits within Global Development, launched Research Includes Me to do just that. This initiative provides educational materials, community-focused events, and on-the-ground support to create genuine connections with patients, as well as their caregivers and care teams. It also offers a Global Trial Finder to help patients learn about potential clinical research opportunities easily and quickly.
But our DEI efforts don’t stop there. Janssen was one of the first to proactively submit a diversity plan to the United States Food & Drug Administration for an oncology clinical trial, and we continue to work to redefine how inclusivity and representation can be defined, practiced, and measured. Not just in the United States but considering how we approach this to meet the needs in all countries around the world. And while many companies are in the early stages of incorporating diversity into their trial plans, the majority of our late-stage trials have diversity plans in place with the goal to have every trial plan include a diversity component in the near future.
We’re doing meaningful work that we are proud of. And we know it wouldn’t be possible without our dedicated and collaborative partners. Clinical Trials Awareness Week, which is taking place from May 14 to May 20, is a time to recognize our clinical-trial heroes, while highlighting what goes into clinical trial research. From site teams across the world to our colleagues, partners, and physicians, thank you for your partnership, and for sharing in our passionate commitment to our patients.
And, finally, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to our global patient community and their families. When you agree to join a clinical trial, you may feel you enter the unknown. This takes immense courage. We applaud you, we are with you. Understand you are why we do what we do. You motivate us and energize us during Clinical Trials Awareness Week, and every single day.
1 U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: United States Table. U.S. Census Bureau. Accessed December 21, 2021. https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/US/PST045219
May 12, 2023