Equity in clinical trial research: What does it mean?

We know that different people may have different reactions to the same treatment based on their age, gender, weight, race, ethnicity, and other factors. Equity in clinical trials means that the participants in clinical trials represent the people who are most likely to have the health condition and need the treatment that the trial is testing. However, we realize that health disparities across communities of color have caused gaps in science and the development of lifesaving treatments for all. To create equitable clinical trial research, more work is needed on our part.

Inequality in clinical research

In the history of clinical research, people’s race and socioeconomic status were often used against them. This has led to distrust for the medical community and clinical research in many communities of color.

We cannot change history, but we can learn from its mistakes and do better. Merck has implemented programs and policies to ensure transparent research and equal access to our clinical trials.

What we’re doing about it

We try to lower health disparities by enrolling a wide range of participants in our clinical trials to make sure our vaccines and medicines work across ethnicities, races, and genders.

Select clinical trial sites with inclusion in mind

We strive to partner with trial sites that closely reflect our diverse patient population.

Work with members of the community

We seek out community-based organizations in our trial site areas to help us build trust and broaden community participation in our research.

Tailored outreach and communication

We provide training for research teams to use educational materials that resonate with and inform specific patient populations.

Commitment to diversity

We are committed to enrolling diverse people in our clinical trials around the world, such as:

  • People of color
  • Different ethnicities
  • Different genders and ages
  • People from different socioeconomic backgrounds

Our enrollment in clinical trials continues to evolve so that we achieve the right balance of participants to help us safely bring new medicines to all people.

Worldwide clinical trials

We conduct our clinical trials in more than 50 countries to ensure our medicines and vaccines meet the needs of people across the world.


How to bridge diversity gaps in cancer clinical trials

Merck’s deputy chief patient officer sat down with leaders from the Lazarex Cancer Foundation to discuss diversity in cancer clinical trials and the work that still needs to be done to foster health equity.
Listen on Merck.com

Why is diversity in clinical trials so important?

Diversity in clinical trials is an important part of our commitment to drive health equity.
Read more on Merck.com

Clinical trials & the power of diversity

Advancing science powered by greater diversity in our clinical research.
Read more on Merck.com

Inspiring innovation through diversity and inclusion

Beyond clinical trials, we know commitment to diversity in research starts within, from the people we hire to those we choose as partners.
Read more on Merck.com