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Rep. Robin Kelly admits that the word “diversity” has scared some of her Republican colleagues away from her effort to improve representation in clinical trials.

“It’s been a little tough on the other side of the aisle,” Kelly said at a recent STAT event. “I don’t want to put one broad brush on everybody, but … they feel like the government’s putting their nose in something a little bit too much.”


The Illinois Democrat has already managed to get one GOP co-sponsor on board with her bill, the NIH Clinical Trial Diversity Act of 2022, which would require clinical trial sponsors to write formal diversity plans when they apply for funding from the National Institutes of Health. If it passes, the bill would also hold pharmaceutical companies responsible for a clear strategy to recruit and retain people largely underrepresented in trials. It would also apply anti-discrimination rules to clinical trials.

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