Bipartisan Legislation Would Make It Easier for All Patients to Participate in Clinical Trials

August 24, 2021

Washington, D.C.— The DIVERSE Trials Act, introduced in both the House and Senate would increase diversity in clinical trials and make it easier for all cancer patients to participate in clinical trials. The bipartisan bicameral legislation, sponsored by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.), and Reps. Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.) Larry Buschon (R-Ind.), would help address health equity and disparities by allowing trial sponsors to reimburse patients for ancillary costs associated with their trial participation, such as travel, parking, food, or lodging. This legislation would also increase participation by removing barriers to allow trial sponsors to provide patients with technology necessary to facilitate remote participation in clinical trials. These recommended changes to policy are beneficial to both patients and researchers because they would expand socioeconomic, geographic, and racial diversity of trial participants.

A statement from Lisa Lacasse, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) follows:

“ACS CAN is committed to not only increasing patient participation in clinical trials but also ensuring diversification of trial enrollment. Clinical trials are essential for continuing to improve cancer prevention, detection, and treatment. We need to remove barriers to ensure that all patients are able to participate.

“Patients should not have to shoulder the extra costs of increased trips to the doctor or new technology required to be an active participant in a trial that could save their lives or that of others. This kind of financial burden has been proven to dissuade some patients from enrolling; especially those with lower incomes.

“The DIVERSE Trials Act will ensure more patients—regardless of their economic means or their geographic location—have a chance to enroll in the best treatment options available without having to bear additional costs or inconveniences. We urge Congress to quickly take up this bill and pass it into law.”