The March 18, 2010 issue of *New England Journal of Medicine* (Volume 362, #11,
March 18) includes a study: “Clinical Trials That Explicitly Exclude
Gay and Lesbian Patients.”
The authors are Brian L. Egleston, Ph.D., Roland L. Dunbrack, Jr.,
Ph.D., & Michael J. Hall, M.D.
Here’s how the report starts: “We recently encountered proposed studies
that explicitly excluded persons in same-sex relationships. We
therefore decided to gather data on clinical trials to see whether this
phenomenon is common. We performed exploratory searches of the
ClinicalTrials.gov database1 to identify categories of studies from
which lesbians and gay men were likely to be explicitly excluded.”
Here’s another excerpt: “We sought explicit inclusion and exclusion
criteria that would restrict trials to heterosexual patients, such as
study requirements that participants be in heterosexual relationships.
We included only studies with sites in the United States.”
Here’s how the report ends: “Our results indicate that exclusion of
lesbians and gay men from clinical trials in the United States is not
uncommon, particularly in studies with sexual function as an end point.
It is likely that most gay and lesbian patients are unaware that their
sexual orientation is being used as a screening factor for participation
in clinical trials. Researchers should be held to careful scientific
reasoning when they develop exclusion criteria that are based on sexual