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Representation and treatment allocation of racial groups in dermatologic therapy trials: A 2-year review of the literature


Although most investigators would agree that including minority races in clinical trials is important, recruitment and retention may differ among these populations. The objective of this review was to perform an audit of phase III dermatologic therapy trials to determine representation for minority groups and to explore the possibility of racial allocation bias. In this review of 11 dermatology or general medicine journals in 2015-16, we did not find evidence of systemic racial allocation bias. We did however note variation in the proportion of minority races included in studies; whereas some trials had high success in recruiting minorities, many did not. Furthermore, most studies did not provide information on individual racial groups and rather presented an ‘other’ category. This supports findings from previous reviews of dermatologic therapy trials that suggest that most participants are white, race data are not included for many studies, and there is underrepresentation of some racial groups. We conclude that although there is no evidence of racial allocation bias in the previous two years, there remains a need for standardization in the reporting of racial groups and for increased participant diversity in dermatologic therapy trials.

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