Pfizer newest ad campaign tackles Black community health inequities—with an eye toward increasing clinical trial participation.
“For too long, the Black community's health concerns have been ignored, under-resourced, underappreciated, undervalued,” a new TV commercial begins.
The narrator points out that the pandemic has highlighted deep racial and ethnic disparities but also offers viewers an option.
“Now you can have a voice in what happens next. People from all backgrounds are needed in clinical research, especially our Black communities,” she says.
The ending of the 30-second "Undo Underrepresented" commercial invites people to go to Pfizer’s new clinical trial platform, launched late last year, to learn more. The platform serves as a single entry point for Pfizer clinical trials and will soon be available in Spanish as well as English, a Pfizer spokesperson said in an email.
“We recognize that choosing to participate in a trial is a deeply personal decision,” a Pfizer spokesperson said in an email. “For those open to participating, a key issue is that most simply don’t know that participation in a trial is an option for them. So we have made a commitment to increase awareness.”
The video ad is also running on social media and in digital display advertising.
Clinical trial recruitment catapulted into the spotlight during COVID-19 vaccine studies. Multiple efforts focused on recruiting Black Americans into trials, including the FDA’s early recommendation that encouraged vaccine makers to enroll “populations most affected by COVID-19, specifically racial and ethnic minorities.”
Pfizer and Moderna reported efforts to broaden participation in COVID-19 vaccine trials, and while the end result was better than typical, they still fell short of true representation. For instance, Pfizer reported 9.8% and Moderna 9.7% Black participant enrollment in their trials, according to a KFF report.
Black Americans account for about 13% of the U.S. population, but typically make up only 5% of clinical trial participants, according to Pfizer's website. Meanwhile, Latinx people account for about 19% of the population but only 1% of those in clinical trials.
Health inequities in general aren’t new, of course, but the pandemic and renewed recognition for social justice for Black, Latinx and other marginalized and oppressed groups prompted more attention from pharma in 2020.
Many drugmakers committed to or amplified efforts to promote racial equality inside their companies and to fund outside efforts to improve health access and services in underserved communities.
Bristol Myers Squibb, Johnson & Johnson, Roche's Genentech unit, AbbVie and Gilead Sciences are among those who have doubled down with millions in funding and renewed pledges over the past year.