Medable, CVS Forge Alliance to Improve Clinical Trial Access

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For years, increased diversity in clinical trials has been an essential milestone across the pharmaceutical industry. Study after study has found that ethnic minorities do not have significant representation in these clinical trials. 

To address that lack of diversity, California-based Medable and CVS have forged a collaboration to improve patient access to clinical trial research. The two companies will harness Medable’s decentralized trial platform and link it with the CVS MinuteClinic facilities across the country. This means that most people in the U.S. will be within a short drive of a decentralized clinical trial research site.

Medable’s partnership with CVS comes weeks after teaming up with Vault Health to provide direct-to-patient testing and Web-based care for decentralized clinical studies. The partnership’s goals are to offer Vault home testing and diagnostics, including virtual office visits and home-site visits with Medable’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform.

Sans Thakur, chief growth officer at Medable, said the company’s mission is to “bring effective therapies to all patients, regardless of where they live, their social status or race.” By combining Medable’s decentralized platform with CVS, Thakur said the partnership aims to bridge the long gap of clinical trial diversity to build greater trust in health and medicine.

“Practical applications of Medable technology with the reach and experience of CVS Health gives us an opportunity to harness this time of change and respond differently to unmet needs in local communities,” Thakur said in a statement.

Medable’s SaaS platform has been deployed across the globe to more than 150 decentralized and hybrid clinical trials. Medable said the platform had minimized the need for in-person site visits, allowing the patients to realize unprecedented results, including a 200% increase in enrollment, 90% retention rates and 50% cut in cost reductions. 

Over the past several years, reports have shown that the majority of patients who participate in clinical trials are Caucasian, while minority populations have been underserved by the life sciences community. Companies across the pharmaceutical industry are attempting to address these gaps. 

In 2020, Genentech, a Roche company, launched a minority-specific study assessing its rheumatoid arthritis drug Actemra as a potential treatment for COVID-19. Last year, Pfizer established a baseline of clinical trial diversity across its pipeline in order to improve its efforts. 

Pfizer said it is committed to “achieving racially and ethnically diverse participation at or above U.S. census or disease prevalence levels” when appropriate in all of its clinical trials. 

For the Medable/ CVS partnership, CVS will employ Medable’s SaaS platform to enhance patient access, engagement and retention. This will also enable the sites to capture the required endpoint data and other information assessed during a trial both onsite and remotely. 

“This dynamic collaboration with Medable will help us intensify our efforts to drive meaningful awareness and access to a broader population, in particular those with mounting chronic illnesses and the vulnerable populations who today are underrepresented in clinical research,” Tony Clapsis, general manager and senior vice president of CVS Health Clinical Trial Services said in a statement. “Those populations often have limited access to health care, and therefore a greater chance of poor health and lower life expectancy. Over 40% of the vulnerable population in the U.S. lives within five miles of a CVS Pharmacy location, so we have a chance to engage them."

“Coupling Medable’s software platform and experience with CVS Health’s national reach, analytics and established clinical trial and care delivery teams and services will further enrich and accelerate our ability to make a difference in the lives of patients and support an improved clinical research process,” Clapsis added. 

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