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June 19, 2013

By Gary A. Puckrein, PhD


June 18, 2013 | WASHINGTON D.C.

Contact: Stephanie Fischer 

(202) 835-3460 

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The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) announced today that it is partnering with the National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF) and Microsoft to help increase diversity in clinical trials.

“Promoting awareness and creating connectivity that can translate into enhanced participation in clinical trials by a diverse patient population is a priority for PhRMA and our member companies,” stated Dr. Salvatore Alesci, M.D., Ph.D, Vice President of Scientific Affairs at PhRMA. “This collaboration brings clinical research and healthcare closer to each other to prevent disparities in the evaluation and access to innovative medicines.”

The collaboration will include joint outreach efforts as well as support for the creation of the National Clinical Trial Network (NCTN), an interactive portal linking communities of patients, practicing physicians and researchers to increase participation and diversity in clinical trials, which will be introduced in the fourth quarter of 2013.

The NCTN will provide a permanent IT infrastructure enabling research investigators to quickly identify minority populations who share a medical need and, when appropriate, facilitate their recruitment into clinical trials in a timely and cost-efficient manner. The NCTN will maintain a data warehouse of patient and investigator registries as well as community-level health statistics which will integrate isolated data repositories into a searchable national archive.

“The collaboration with PhRMA and Microsoft, innovators in medicine and technology, sets us on a course to solve one of the longstanding challenges in public health, the need for increased heterogeneity in clinical trials,” stated Gary Puckrein, President of the National Minority Quality Forum. “Infrastructure and broader public-private partnerships will be needed to complete the journey, but the path forward is now clear. This joint effort helps lay the foundation for that future.”

“This collaboration is truly a 21st century healthcare venture, combining the best of big data, software and communication tools to link researchers with practicing physicians whose diversity of patients may be candidates for clinical trials,” said Michael Robinson, Vice President of U.S. Health and Life Sciences at Microsoft. “With PhRMA joining our collaboration, we expect to measurably increase minority participation in clinical research, enabling a data warehouse approach that can identify representative samples of risk populations who might benefit from potential therapies.”

“We are excited to be part of an initiative that can help transform the clinical trial ecosystem,” concluded Dr. Alesci. “It complements ongoing efforts by PhRMA’s member companies to help ensure that a diverse patient population can benefit from potentially cutting-edge medicines and advance science by participating in clinical trials.”

For more information on NCTN, please visit

About PhRMA

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading innovative biopharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to discovering and developing medicines that enable patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. Since 2000, PhRMA member companies have invested approximately $550 billion in the search for new treatments and cures, including an estimated $48.5 billion in 2012 alone.

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About The Forum

The National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, non-partisan, independent research and education organization. The vision of NMQF is a health services research, delivery and financing system that provides quality and effective health services to the biodiverse American general population of the 21st century. NMQF helps assure that national and local quality improvement initiatives are informed by scientific evidence, and place a priority on the quality of care and patient outcomes in all populations.