CVS to bring late-stage clinical trials to certain locations in push to serve underrepresented patients

The next time you stop at CVS Health to pick up prescriptions, you might run into people entering a clinical trial or being recruited for one. The nationwide health network is teaming up with virtual trials provider Medable to enroll people into late-stage clinical studies.

With thousands of brick-and-mortar locations across the U.S., CVS Health says it's within five miles of 40% of the "vulnerable population" in the country. That proximity will help the pharmacy chain engage with people who have chronic illnesses, said Tony Clapsis, senior vice president of CVS Health Clinical Trial Services, in a statement

CVS will help Medable deliver phase 3 and 4 clinical trials as well as real-world evidence studies after helping get 300,000 people into trials for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. The studies will take place at certain MinuteClinic locations, in patients' homes through CVS' Coram and virtually using Medable's software.

The collaboration will be led by CVS' in-house Clinical Trial Services unit, which was unveiled in May 2021 to focus on late-stage trials.

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The duo emphasized the collaboration is meant to engage people who are underrepresented in clinical trials as well as to retain patients. Medable said about 30% of patients drop out before study completion, and a whopping 80% of studies do not enroll patients in time. 

The drug industry has long underrepresented patients of color in clinical trials testing new treatments and medical devices. Medable, which has racked up $521 million of funding in two years, has said its software is meant to bridge that divide.