The New York Times recently wrote an article on two significant scientists that are calling for the end of gender inequality in medical research. These two scientists are Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institute of Health (N.I.H.) and Dr. Janine A. Clayton, the N.I.H. director of the Office of Research on Woman’s Health. In past and recent history, some researchers have shown bias towards testing with male lab animals. Now, with the rise of female equality, the N.I.H. are warning that researchers must use female lab animals as well as female tissues and cells in conjunction with male lab animals and male tissues and cells.
If you look at any drug or treatment, there is a large amount of research done for its treatment on men and significantly less for women. Many women have been blindsided by these skewed side effects and dosage inaccuracies. Now the NIH (National Institute of Health) proclaims that this gender bias in medical research must come to an end. The N.I.H has already chastised researchers for their biases in male research vs. female research; however, this statement made by Dr. Collins and Dr. Clayton is more of a focus on the early stages of research. Today, women make up more than half of the participants in medical research funded by the N.I.H., but it’s taken a while to get to this point. Women are still misrepresented in the early stage clinical trials done by drug companies and manufacturers of medical devices.
In March of 2014 a meeting was conducted by the national Policy Summit on Women’s Heath that brought together policymakers, academics, practitioners, and supporters to discuss the misrepresentation of women in medical research for the first time. Already two months after this meeting, the federal government has made some changes in the statutes surrounding medical research biases. Now the N.I.H. must require their researchers to expand their results of female cells and test animals in both the clinical and pre-clinical stages. There is much more progress that will come in the following year, and the Federal government has been quick to discuss and solve these policies.